Full text of "Poems"
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ELIZABETH FAWCETT TOWNSEND.
PRINTED AT THE REQUEST OF PERSONAL FRIENDS.
C. SHERMAN & SON, PRINTERS.
£ Frequent requests having been made by friends
^*- of our mother for copies of her poems, they have
~~ been collected by her children, in order that those
c/ who knew and appreciated her might have them in
^ convenient form. Only a limited number of copies
- have been printed, and these are not intended for
.X general distribution. Many of the poems are expe-
ct riences of her own childhood, and nearly all of them
5 are connected with such personal associations as
^ make them peculiarly sacred to those who were the
objects of her love and friendship.
The poems, " A Shower," and " Lovely Kosebud,"
are the only ones of the collection that have been
published. To those for whom this volume is in-
tended, it is needless to say why they have been
withheld from publication. The first mentioned ap-
peared in Sartain's Magazine for November, 1849,
at the request of the Editor of that periodical, con-
veyed through the Kev. William H. Furness, who,
in introducing it, has appropriately expressed the
circumstances under which the author wrote, and
the motives of her inspiration.
" It lends a special though melancholy charm to
the following lines, to know that, since the publica-
tion of a few verses under the same name in a pre-
vious number, their author has vanished from our
sphere. To those who knew her, it would be an
occasion of regret were any more of her effusions to
be published, without some tribute, imperfect though
it may be, to the beauty of that departed spirit,
of whom they are now most precious memorials.
They recall her image so vividly that we are moved
to give expression to the deep respect which her
strength of mind and character inspired, and to the
admiration awakened by her fine powers. We call
these productions effusions, and they were literally
the outpourings of a rich fountain of poetic senti-
ment, which no severity of bodily suffering, engross-
ing as bodily suffering usually is, could ever cause
to run dry, which seemed indeed to owe its abun-
dant and crystal purity to the very infirmities which
our friend was called to bear; just as springs of pe-
rennial freshness gush up in rocl^y and austere soils.
Mrs. Townsend dwelt in a retired circle, where she
was still more secluded by years of acute bodily dis-
ease, from which she wsas released only by death, a
few months ago. She never dreamed of writing for
the public. She drew no inspiration from the hope
of fame. Thje circle of her little ones was the world
which she found relief and pleasure in adorning with
the beauty and filling with the music of her verse.
Her compositions were committed to writing, not
by her own hand, but by the hands of her children,
at such intervals as usually mitigate suffering, se-
vere and protracted like hers. She loved nature,
and worshipped truth passionately. Eacked with
pain, and wasting away to the grave, she sought in
a world of beauty a refuge from the imprisoning
and torturing desh. Her inner life and activity was
00 real, that when she ceased to breathe it was im-
possible to imagine that she had ceased to be. She
has only laid down a wearisome body to enter into
fuller communion with the ideal beauty that she
loved. And these brief and fragmentary lines that
she has left, — we gather them as flowers fallen from
the crown of a departing angel."
The Song of the Sun and the Wind,
The Song of the Spinning Wheel,
The Five Maidens,
I Will Love Thee and for Aye,
The Twin Fountains,
The Autumnal Day,
The Buckwheat at Morn,
The Storm is O'er,
Beneath the Evening's Silver Star,
The Woodland Song,
The Twilight Hour, .....
My Lowly Home, .....
To Lizzie B , .....
Lovely Rosebud, .....
Lines Written for Mary M , .
Aoorn Songs, ......
To the Fairy I. V., ....
The Beggar Man, .....
The Christmas Hymn, ....
The Wood-splitter, ....
The Corn-cutting, .....
Farewell to the Valley, ....
The Charmed Sea, .....
Alliteration, . . . ...
" uncle enoch" is descriptive or a farm near
RADNOR, DELAWARE COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, WHERE
OUR MOTHER SPENT SEVERAL SUMMER8 OF HER
CHILDHOOD. THE FARM THEN BELONGED TO ENOCH
RICHARDS : IT HAS SINCE PASSED INTO OTHER HANDS.
" I'll come for you, girls/' Uncle Enoch would say,
" Be all ready at twelve ; — 'tis fine weather to-day,
And my marketing soon will be gone."
How our hearts leaped with joy at the long-promised
How we feared he'd be early, then hoped he'd be soon,
As the hand slowly travelled to one.
At length we were oif, and the bridge fairly passed,
We saw the green land of our promise at last,
And chatted and wondered the while ;
"When we said : " Could we live in the sunshine all
How contented we'd be :" — in his own quiet way,
Uncle Enoch would pleasantly smile.
All too happy we were ; why the children at play
By the side of the road, seemed reproachful to say,
We had more than our share of delight.
How profound was our pity for all left behind,
In the close, murky air : " Would they deem us un-
Or think we'd forgotten them quite ?"
12 UNCLE ENOCH.
Then, so red were the roads as they climbed up the
And so green were the hollows where rippled the rills,
Far under the causeways of stone.
Might we have but our will, in that sweet shady spot,
Where the herds were at rest, we would build us a cot,
And happily live there alone.
Blue fields of tall rye, and rich wheat, sunny bright,
Sweet buckwheat in blossom, like foam, snowy white,
Wood, meadow, and stream, on our way ;
With hues ever changing in sunlight and shade,
Spread enchantment before us, and seemed newly
For our special enjoyment that day.
The sun was far down, and the cool evening wind
Came fresh from the fields, when the road lay behind,
And we spied, at the end of the lane,
Little Mary and Bessy, and wild with delight,
Our old crony, the dog, while we'd trembling alight,
Where kisses were showered like rain.
Now, good Uncle Enoch, he owned that wide farm,
With Aunt Annie, his wife, — oh, her heart it was
Towards the poor, and the friendless, and lone :
How glad was her welcome, how kindly her smile ;
Her spirit was child-like, her life without guile :
Dear Aunt Annie to heaven has gone !
UNCLE ENOCH. 13
'Twas just where the hill-side slopes into the vale,
Stood the farm-house and barn ; and this part of my
. Is recorded the broad eaves below ;
The mason, thus ordered, had chosen with care
A shapely, white stone, and had graven it fair,
With the names of this faithful and long- wedded pair.
Who raised this in years long ago.
'Twas an old-fashioned house, and it looked on the
There we saw the bright sun as he sank to his rest,
From the long wooden porch at the door;
There our table was spread as the light died away,
And with song, and with story, and innocent play,
The brief summer evening passed o'er.
And in front, a broad lane, half grown over with grass,
Where morning and evening the cattle would pass,
As to meadow or milking they went ;
I've counted full twenty before they'd gone by,
And with them, a wild one, with glowering eye,
His skin torn with many a rent.
And then, when the branches were glittering with
We thought it fine sport, when the sun shone again,
If the chickens would perch on the stile
To pick at their feathers, while now and anon,
Some chick more unlucky and weak, they'd push
In the grass, to do penance awhile.
14 UNCLE ENOCH.
And beyond the green lane, a wide orchard was
Where the fruit, tempting, clustered so full and so red,
The branches almost swept the ground-
'Twas sweet, merry music, whenever the breeze
Went singing about through the old apple trees,
To hear them all dropping around.
And beyond the broad orchard a high hill arose ;
There, oft, when the long summer day neared its
On some old, fallen tree for our seat,
We'd list to the tinkling of bells far away,
And watch the herds browse on the pastures that lay
In sunny repose at our feet.
And close by the wall, as you turned to the right,
Was the long kitchen-garden — a bountiful sight ;
Where, planted in many a row,
Were cabbages curly, and spinach so green,
Euddy radishes early, and gay flowering bean,
And delicate lettuce, I trow.
The silver-leafed sage, and the meadow-mint there ;
The rue and the rosemary scented the air,
And the thyme lent its spicy perfume ;
And lavender blossoms, so daintily blue,
And fragrant nasturtiums, that rivalled in hue
The bright scarlet bergamot bloom.
And thick round the fences, like warders, did stand
Gooseberries and raspberries, ripe, hand in hand ;
UNCLE ENOCH. 15
And shining red currants so round,
That between the green leaves loved to peep at the
And, bending above them, the pear tree and plum
"Would wave in the wind, and the luscious fruit come,
And merrily bound on the ground.
Then, down from the garden, it was but a turn
To the dairy; — too glad might we ply at the churn,
As it stood in the fresh, open air.
The cream, how it sputtered and tumbled about,
How it foamed at each crevice, and tried to get out,
Till we'd venture to lift up the cover, and shout,
" The butter has come, I declare !"
From the window, o'erlooking the springhouse and
Of our wants ever heedful, Aunt Annie would lean :
" Now, Bessy, do get them, I pray,
A bowlful of milk, and a rusk, and some pie.
Poor children ! they sure must be hungry and dry,
They've scarce tasted a morsel to-day."
Oh ! could you have peeped in that springhouse, to see
The good things intended for dinner and tea;
So temptingly close at your hand
Were lots of sweet cakes, and brown rusks by the
And pies by the dozen, and ranged by the door
Fresh cheese, with a delicate rind coated o'er,
16 UNCLE ENOCH.
And huge pans, of milk, all in rows on the floor;
While the spring, bubbling cold from the corner,
Its clear, tiny waves o'er the sand. #
But, oh ! what delight, on a bright Sunday morn,
To see the old folks in the new dearborn borne ;
Ah ! then we might wander at will.
We'd hie to the orchard, our aprons unbind,
And fill with the ripest and best we could find,
Then away for the field on the hill.
'Twas a wide, sunny field, and so thick the rocks lay,
You might play hide and seek there the long summer
And ne'er be at loss for a nook ;
In the midst, from a rock half grown over with moss,
So steep, that we scarcely could clamber across,
You might all the wide landscape o'erlook.
And there would we sit in the shade, on the ground,
Nor heed the wild bull as he trampled around,
With our citadel gallantly manned ;
For Tommy and Enoch, if ever the foe
Would venture too near us, their missiles would
And defend every inch of our land.
Thus the morning sped on, until dinner-time near,
Far down the long lane a low rumbling we'd hear,
And soon all the guests would arrive ;
UNCLE ENOCH. 17
Then, such shaking of hands, and such "How does
thee do's ?"
And "Now, Jacob, don't go !" and "Do, pray, what's
From Aunt Sally's ?" and " How does thee thrive ?"
And, in the " best room," when we'd all gather there,
What pinning of dollars, and smoothing of hair,
And folding of kerchiefs, there 'd be !
Then — down stairs to partake of the good, hearty
And, "Now, friends, do reach to," and "Pray, help
thyself, dear !"
And, " Do stop, and we'll have early tea."
Oh ! days long departed, how swiftly ye passed !
How often we vowed the old clock was too fast,
As it warned us that Sunday was o'er !
Then, the kiss oft repeated, the hand warmly prest,
The kind invitation from each parting guest,
As, reluctant, they drove from the door.
Far down in the woods welled a beautiful stream j
When the sun through the branches would quiver
How the ripples would sparkle and glow !
There the wild roses clustered, and huge grape-vines
To the beech, and the maple, and gracefully hung
In festoons o'er the waters below.
18 UNCLE ENOCH.
If the woodman has spared the old forest trees there,
On a beech, by the wave, that stands stately and fair,
Four letters, well graven, you'll find ;
Where the frail rustic bridge o'er the rivulet's thrown,
A maid and a stripling, in days long agone,
Carved together their names on the rind.
One day, a strange tempter my spirit possessed,
To loosen the stone where I'd taken my rest ;
Lo ! three tiny serpents were there.
Oh ! why, whien all slumbered so bright and serene,
Did my meddlesome folly thus darken the scene,
And destroy the illusion so fair ?
And, perchance, when the blithe, merry reaping
High perched on the wagon, just laden for home,
Not the birds in the trees were more gay.
How we laughed, and we sang, till the clear, sum-
Caught up the wild music, and bore it afar,
Far over the meadows away.
When the grain-fields were bare, and the skies clear
And the forests all glowing with crimson and gold,
We'd gather the hazel-nuts brown ;
And then, by the light of a full autumn moon,
We'd sing of " Sweet Jessie," and fair " Bonnie Doon,"
Then slowly return to our home.
UNCLE ENOCH. 19
But the dear little spot that we ever loved best
Was a garden, whose palings were daintily drest
With the loveliest roses, I ween ;
To the long, woody hills, in the eastward that lay,
Beneath it, a meadow stretched smiling away,
That always was quiet and green.
There, the first brightening ray of the morning was
On the grass, and the dew-covered roses so red ;
There, coolest the shadow at noon.
And down to the garden went stone steps, just four,
Oh ! happy at evening, beneath that old door,
To watch for the red, rising moon.
From the gate scarce a rood, the delight of our eyes,
A peerless old apple-tree gladdened the skies,
Uncaring for weather or time ;
Above, it spread forth its great branches abroad,
Below, it o'ercanopied far the green sward ;
You would say it rejoiced in its prime.
Oh ! could I but tell you, how, time out of mind,
It had fought with the storm, and the rain, and the
How it dodged stick and stone at its pleasure ;
How it waged merry war with the youngsters below,
Who brandished their poles at each well-laden bough,
How for all the rough shakings it cared not a feather,
But tossed down the apples and urchins together,
To roll on the grass at their leisure.
20 UNCLE ENOCH.
Oh, matchless old apple-tree ! still is it there ?
Is its shadow as broad, are its treasures as fair ?
Are they ripe ere the berries are done ?
Do the children around it still whirl in a ring,
On the sward soft and mossy, and dance as they sing,
In the beams of a bright morning sun ?
And, down in that meadow — oh, listen to me !
Eight lithesome and bold, stood a merry, green tree,
Bending lovingly over a pool ;
Where a clear, winding brook, that was tired all day
Of rippling and singing, just loitered to play
In the shadow so temptingly cool.
Our spirits were flagging, our feet weary too —
In a moment we parted with stocking and shoe—
In a moment we mounted on high ;
There, nice-poised and firm-seated, down dipping
And just touch the bright pebbles that sparkled
Then rise up aloft to the sky.
Oh, rarest of pleasures ! Oh, daintiest fun !
To complete the bright pastime so featly begun,
Some wild, olden ditty, we'd sing;
Or invent a new song for our newly-found pleasure,
That haply would chime with both motion and
While fast to the bough we would cling.
UNCLE ENOCH. 21
For woe to the luckless, whose hand left the rind
To part her stray locks, all afloat in the wind,
In vain was the desperate scream ;
Ah, sad was her fate ! not a watery home,
But a clear, ringing peal of loud laughter would come,
As, all dripping, she rose from the stream.
You may ride on a steed that is gentle and bold,
With saddle of velvet, and trappings of gold,
But, a lovelier ride for me,
Was a foot in the stream, and a hand on the bough,
And the light of the skies on the shadowless brow,
While the sunshine brightened the waves below,
And shone through the merry, green tree.
Nor may we forget the old lime-kiln, that stood
At the turn of the road, as it wound through the
To the south full three furlongs or more ;
The wild, breezy night, and the dark, cloudy sky,
Were welcomed with joy, as the hour drew nigh
When the sparks from the chimney would pour.
As the flames mounted clear, to the woodland we'd
Oh, wild was that picture against the dark sky !
The red, fiery gleam, through the pile ;
The loose, broken ground, trees fantastic and bright,
That twined their long arms in the fierce ruddy light;
Where rude, swarthy figures the while,
22 UNCLE ENOCH.
Toiling, fed with huge boughs the grim furnace be-
How they melted away in its hot, glowing breath,
That ever was eager for prey ;
And long, winding fences, and gray, rimy stone,
Like living things gleamed; till the light faintly
Died far off in the distance away.
But our song in the evening is echoed no more ;
The hazel-nuts fall; but who heeds the bright store ?
The group from the hill-top has gone :
Sad cares have been busy with hearts once so warm ;
And, they tell me, a stranger has bought the old farm,
And the spring is deserted and lone.
I know 'tis but fancy ; — it never may be,
But sometimes I cannot help thinking, that we
Will wander adown the long lane,
And over the orchard, and rest on the hill,
And see the far herds in the sunshine so still,
And hear the bells tinkle again.
Do they gather the dew-covered roses so sweet?
Do the worn paths still echo to footfalls as fleet ?
Do they ride on the boughs with the waves at their
Or watch from the steps, till at last
The red rising moon climbs above the dark wood ?
I know not : but so they be happy and good,
The spirits of mountain and meadow and flood,
Will build them a beautiful Past.
SUN AND THE WIND.
THE SONG OF THE SUN AND
Once on a lovely summer morn,
In the pleasant olden time,
There sat at school
On an oaken stool,
A little maiden, whose heart, I fear,
Would rather be roving afar and near,
Than conning a sober rhyme.
"J care not to be wise at all,"
The little maid did say ;
"I wish that I
Were a butterfly,
I'd rest in the shadows, and come and go,
And watch the crimson flowers that blow
At four o'clock in the day.
" Or, if I were but the little bird
On top of the cherry-tree,
I'd sing a song
So loud and long,
The very leaves would hold their breath,
And the bright-eyed celandine beneath,
Would look up and listen to me.
26 THE SONG OF THE
" Or a tiny silver fish, to swim
On the shady side of a pool ;
Where the waves run round
With a tinkling sound,
And the water-lilies do bloom and play :
I would rather be anything to-day,
Than a little girl at school."
Was it the sunbeam that brightened her hair,
And shimmered over the floor ;
Or the wind that came
Through the broken pane,
Or the merry dancing grape-vine leaves,
At hide-and-seek round the sunny eaves,
And peeping in at the door ?
Or the damsel that sat on the bench behind ?
She knew not ; nor do I,
That sang in her ear,
So sweet and clear,
" 'Tis but a little way, and then
Are beautiful flowers ; and there's no end
To the fields, and the far blue sky."
Oh ! red as any rose, I trow,
Was that little maiden's cheek ;
When none spake a word,
Yet a voice she heard,
And it said, " The fields and the sky are fair;
But the flowers that grow so beautiful there,
Thou wast forbidden to seek."
SUN AND THE WIND. 27
She dropped her cheek upon her hand;
She tried her lesson anew ;
Her lips they stirred
But never a word
Went to her heart ; then did she say,
" I wish I were, this summer day,
Over that river so blue.
" Over that river so broad and blue
My father took me away ;
With masts so high
They touched the sky,
He showed me the painted ships, that come
From a land where the oranges grow in the sun,
And the children do nothing but play.
" Nothing to do, only to climb
The grape-vines tall, and see,
With sails all white,
Like wings so bright,
The beautiful ships, as they come and go,
And watch the lovely birds below,
Flitting from tree to tree.
" And I saw the peaches, with long, green leaves,
So softly folded around ;
And now, I know
How the melons grow,
On the twining vines, that around them run,
And their glossy green backs they turn to the sun,
And their bosoms so white to the ground.
28 THE SONQ OF THE
" And the rind is crisp, and glistening white,
And the core is like honey-comb red ;
And fitted well,
Every one in its cell,
The shining black seeds are hived together,
And have never a fear of the hot, summer wea-
So cold in their rosy bed.
" And he took me where, down to the river blue,
The shady woods do grow ;
And all day long
I heard the song
Of a bird we could hear, but never see,
That had no home on any tree,
Nor its nest on any bough ;
Far away, calling to me,
With a voice so sweet and low ;
Where that bird is singing from tree to tree
If I might only go."
" What ails thee, child?" — thus spake the dame,
Who sat in the great arm-chair ;
" Put by thy book !
And why dost look
Out at the window, and up to the sky ?
Eleven o'clock is drawing nigh :
'Tis time for the psalm and the- prayer."
Then all around that ancient dame,
Solemn and hushed, stood there,
SUN AND THE WIND. 29
A little band ;
And every hand
Was palm to palm ; and the hymn would rise,
And to One who liveth above the skies,
We said our Saturday prayer.
She was a lady stern and tall,
A dame of some degree ;
And this was her praise, —
From old-fashioned ways
She never departed, nor spared the rod,
And loved her Bible, and feared her God,
And her frown was sorrow to me ;
And she always told us 'twas folly to soar
Beyond the " Eule of Three."
Wondrous and bright were the letters we
From samplers faded and old ;
And more marvellous still,
The daring skill
That devised the fruits, and roses' full bloom,
The like on tree or bush had ne'er grown,
All purple and crimson and gold.
Brighter and brighter the sunbeam shone,
Merrier the leaves did play,
And the wind that came
Through the broken pane
Sang a wild song in the maiden's ear;
Till the warning voice, so low and clear,
Grew fainter, and died away.
30 THE SONG OF THE
Oh ! never, never, be lured to list
To the sunshine and the wind ;
They promise fair,
But, ah, beware !
If the heart is true, they will keep good time;
If false, for awhile they will sweetly chime,
Then laughing, leave you behind.
The maiden dropped a curtsy low,
To the dame in the old arm-chair ;
Her lessons all conned,
And her bonnet donned ;
Then hastened away, with bag and book ;
But, alas ! not the homeward path she took,
She dreamed not of going there.
Was it the damsel that walked by her side ?
Or the happy, southern wind,
Singing at ease
Through the poplar trees ?
Or was it her truant heart, the while,
That sought her footsteps to beguile,
And wooed her on
With this pleasant song,
Till her home lay far behind ?
" My way lies before thee,
With the warm summer wind,
The sunshine is o'er thee,
The shadow behind.
SUN AND THE WIND. 31
" The slopes and the hill-side
With daisies are white,
The flags by the rill-side
Are purple and bright.
" And fields of red clover
Come down to the way,
The bees humming over
Them all the long day.
" The burrs we will cull there,
To make a soft nest ;
A fairy might lull there
Her baby to rest.
" The dandelion feather
With thistle-down twine ;
And weave them together
Our cradle to line.
" Where over the hedges
The wild roses peep ;
Where under the fences
The blackberries creep.
" Come onward, and follow,
Where deep in the pool,
The herds in the hollow
Stand shaded and cool.
32 THE SONG OF THE
" My way lies before thee,
With the warm summer wind ;
The shadow is o'er thee,
The sunshine behind. ,,
Far beyond, through the closing woods,
The song had passed away ;
She only heard
That mournful bird,
" Whippoorwill, whippoorwill," make his moan \
What does he want ? what has he done
To sing that doleful lay ?
The damsel kissed her cheek, and said,
" Thy path is by yonder tree;
Now hie thee home,
I must be gone,
At the door is waiting my mother dear,
And she will chide my stay, and fear
Some harm has befallen me."
Then the warning voice, so stern and clear,
To the little maid did say :
" The sun's going down,
And far off is home,
Where no loving kiss awaits for thee ;
But shame and tears, the reward shall be,
For what thou hast done to-day."
The flowers that drooped in her listless hand,
She threw to the fickle wind ;
SUN AND THE WIND. 33
The sunbeam had gone
And left her alone,
But the steeples were bright in the golden beam,
That painted the tree-tops, and tinged the stream,
And the rosy clouds behind. .
The herds had gone home to the farm on the hill,
The hollows were dark and dim;
And her heart faintly beat,
Though her steps were fleet,
As she cast a glance on the deep, still pool,
And wished she was only again at school,
As she sang her Saturday hymn.
The roses had sunk in the leaves to rest,
So gay in their morning light ;
And her fingers were torn
By the blackberry thorn,
And the burrs clung fast against her will,
And she stepped aside from the darkened rill,
Where the purple flags grew bright.
And the dandelions, and daisies pale,
Looked sadly on as she passed ;
And the clover field
No joy might yield,
The bees had forsaken the bloom so sweet ;
And with aching brow, and weary feet,
She saw her home at last.
Oh ! sad was her heart, and faint her step,
As she neared her father's door;
34 THE SONG OF THE
The evening breeze
Sang through the trees,
And the children were out 'neath the poplars at
But the sweet, wild song, and the sunny ray,
Followed the maid no more.
Many a summer had come and gone,
And the maid was a woman grown ;
When again she stood,
In a sadder mood,
If not wiser, upon that very floor ;
But the stately old dame was there no more,
And the bright little faces were gone.
And for the humming of rosy lips,
Was the sound of the hammer and plane )
And vainly she sought
For the garden plot ;
The celandine and the four-o'clocks
Had long forgotten their shady nooks,
And the bird had ceased its strain.
And the damsel of the sweet, low voice,
Oh ! whither might she be ?
With winning smile
Did she still beguile
The loved, as maiden or mother blest ?
Or, early had she found her rest
Under the churchyard tree ?
SUN AND THE WIND. 35
Oh ! who would believe the cherry-tree,
So brave and green, that grew
In the clear blue sky,
Could ever die ?
And the grape-vine clung to the eaves no more,
But the sunbeam glanced o'er the old worn floor,
And the wind stole in at the open door,
And sang the roundelay o'er and o'er,
That now I sing to you.
And, as it sang of the olden time,
There mingled one sad regret,
That the sunshine and flowers,
And the pleasant hours,
With witching beauty, and 'wildering lays,
Ever lured the heart in forbidden ways,
Its homeward way to forget.
••OLD SORREL 18 AN ACCOUNT OF A VISIT PAID
TO SOME OLD AND DEAR FRIENDS IN WEST
WHITELAND, CHESTER VALLEY, PENNSYLVANIA.
And can he be dead ? has he given the slip
To this world, and his master, at last ?
Has he laid him to rest, who ne'er winced at the whip,
Or quailed at the wild winter blast ?
A Stoic not half so enduring could be ;
A soldier on duty, no braver than he !
" Old Sorrel" he was, when he first met our eyes,
" Old Sorrel" how long he had been
He deigned not to tell us ; but chary and wise,
He kept his own counsel, I ween :
Demurely as maiden whose spring bloom is o'er,
When we tauntingly hinted at thirty, or more.
To prying and pimping he never would yield,
But cherished a dignified pride ;
Nor stared o'er the fence with his mates of the field,
If by chance he a stranger espied ;
Though sometimes he'd venture to frolic apart,
And toss up his heels in the joy of his heart.
His virtues were legion, his fault was but one, —
If fault you might call it ; 'tis true,
'Twas only a virtue — somewhat overdone :
While we give poor Old Sorrel his due,
40 OLD SORREL.
It must be confessed, that, in harness when bound,
Your shadow and his crept like snails on the ground
When the telegraph rivals the lightning on high,
And the steam-car outstrippeth the wind,
Is it nought to behold with a passionless eye,
And quietly jog on behind ?
To clip one's wild fancies, and fetter the will,
Be content with old Nature, and love to be still ?
Though the Millerites scolded, he asked not for wings,
The Homo's and Hydro's he shied ;
And quaffed but his share of the pure meadow springs,
Nor dived with the fish in the tide ;
Nor digressed upon pastures quite out of his way,
Just to nibble a little, as we've done to-day.
The morning was bright, not a cloud in the sky,
Eipe Summer was joyous as May;
The birds sang aloud in the willow-tree nigh,
And sweet was the newly-mown hay.
" 'Tis the day for our ride — to the Yalley we'll go ;"
So said Cousin Hannah. " Old Sorrel is slow;
" But then he is safe, whatsoe'er may betide :
I'll take my own Anna with me,
Thy dear sister "Libby will sit by thy side,
And Fanny will sit on thy knee.
The children will find a whole world of delight ;
'Tis scarcely six miles — we'll be home before night."
OLD SORREL. 41
If you went by the road it was barely a mile,
Not the half if you walked through the wood,
Then strayed through the clover, and over the stile,
A cool, shady footpath pursued,
Between the green fields, till it came to a close,
Where the fair town of Westchester, smiling, arose.
There sunrise and Sorrel, as surely as fate,
When the cocks crowed aloud, would repair,
With churn, can, and milkmaid, to stop at each gate,
And award every patron his share.
And, think you he'd give up his calling ? Oh, no !
Though we scolded and coaxed, to each gate he
The village behind us, — we journeyed at ease
Where the wheat was all ripened and bound,
And bright yellow haystacks arose through the trees;
And, wherever a shade could be found,
There, in spite of entreaties, Old Sorrel would stand,
And survey at his leisure the green meadow-land.
Then, as if enchanted, in each cosy nook
Of the woodland he'd pause,— why , he knew,
Far better than we did, where flowed a clear brook,
And the woodbines and laurel trees grew.
So, with Sorrel's romancing, and whims of our own,
When we neared the broad Yalley, the morning had
Ah ! well do you know him who welcomed us there,
And to know him and love him is one ;
42 OLD SORREL.
For he leaveth a blessing like sunshine and air,
When the warmth of his presence is gone.
If there were but more like him, our hearts would
grow young :
But this tale is Old Sorrel's — I'll bridle my tongue.
It matters not now how the swift hours sped :
It was certainly three, if not more,
For the shadows fell eastward, when Sorrel was led
All in harness arrayed, to the door.
And soon we were seated, and bidden good-bye,
And off on the road, with the fields and the sky.
Sweet summer had chosen a robe of rare sheen,
Wherewith to adorn that bright day ;
And the warp was of blue, and the woof was of green,
With a web of fine gold intermingled between,
And her smile was the fulness of May.
But, hark ! what was that ? Ah ! it boded no good :
Was it only a team far ahead in the wood ?
No warning was needed ; for, far in the west,
We saw the dark clouds in the skies ;
And each cloud on its front bore a glittering crest,
And foretold that a storm would arise :
Yet all the wide Yalley in sunshine lay still,
And we heard not a sound but the chime of a rill.
Then followed a wail, and each leaf upward curled
Its gray lining; the fields were o'ercast,
And the dust in the road in light eddies was whirled;
Why, the brave old trees blanched at the blast !
OLD SORREL. 43
But Sorrel was braver than all put together, —
And why should he care for the freaks of the wea-
Yet a moment we stopped, just to strip from a tree
A store of tough branches, to use
On Old Sorrel's back : for a proper degree
Of spirit we fain would infuse ;
Then pleaded, and coaxed, and with switch urged
him on ;
But his hide, like his heart, was as callous as stone.
Now the dust became blinding, the wind fiercer blew,
Plash ! plash ! fell the rain on the trees :
Then said Cousin Hannah : " This never will do !
There's an inn not far off, — if we please,
We can stop for awhile : and, perhaps, it may clear ;
And, Anna, now don't spare Old Sorrel, my dear."
Again we were housed, — but no purse carried we :
Not a penny to bless us withal ;
And, though ever so hungry, you plainly may see
We dare not for supper to call.
The wind, rain, and dust, we have tempted once
Though the landlady warns us, we move from the
" Come, Sorrel, good Sorrel, the wood is at hand !
'Twill be dark night before we reach home.
Now, that's a dear horse ! Oh ! don't come to a stand !
He won't budge ! We shall die here alone !
44 OLD SORREL.
You provoking old fellow ! You senseless old goose !
There, he moves — and that's all ; why, the whip's of
no use !
" Throw them out, Libby dear, for the creeks will
And we'll certainly drown by the way ;
I could make up my mind through all peril to go,
If we'd left but the children to-day."
But one sweet face alone, with a smile calm and clear,
Looked out on the storm, without shadow of fear.
Now the rain poured in torrents ; crash I crash ! on
Came the boughs, as peal followed on peal :
You could scarce see your hand in the darkness
Save as flash after flash would reveal,
For an instant, our faces, all pale in the gleam,
And the broken road, bright as the bed of a stream.
But, proof against tempests, and darkness like night,
Avoiding each stump and each stone,
Old Sorrel slow crept : if he would but take fright,
And headlong dash desperate on
Through the woods; — but he certainly this would
" We'll stop at friend Hannum's — 'tis close at hand
'Twas a dear little house, but a rood from the road,
And quickly they came at our call ;
OLD SORREL. 45
How warmly, as weary and dripping we stood,
They welcomed us, singly, and all :
" Poor things, 'tis too bad ! Why, you're soaked
through and through ;
You must have some dry clothes : — we'll find some-
thing will do."
Little Libby and Anna ten summers had seen,
But now, they tripped over the floor
With long trains, that were ample enough for a queen,
And their honors right .merrily, bore;
And shouted and laughed, your dear Mamma to see,
In a huge-flowered calico, sipping her tea.
It was great grandame Hannum who donned this
As a holiday gown, in the past,
Some hundred years gone ; little dreaming, I fear,
Of the fate it would meet with at last.
But we left poor old Sorrel without, at the gate ;
Now, will he go home with the dearborn, or wait ?
For there's no one to take him to stable or stall ;
Brother Hannum's away on the farm.
'Tis past ten, and the storm's not abated at all ;
Well, 'tis hoped he will meet with no harm.
He's not tied, to be sure; he can start if he will;
But he's tired, no doubt, and would rather be still.
Brother Hannum is come, and we see, through the
Old Sorrel, so thoughtful and wise.
46 OLD SORREL.
Now he might have gone off with the carriage for
Why it almost brought tears in our eyes.
How could he do better ? He might have done worse,
So precious and good, such a darling old horse !
Now why need I tell you how cosy was seen
The room where we slept all the night ;
How the sashes and doors were a delicate green,
That looked gay on the groundwork of white ;
How we waked with the dawn, while the hickory
Crackled bright on the broad kitchen hearth, and arose
The steam of hot coffee, and newly baked bread;
How with hearts that were light as a feather,
From cloth of fine damask, right bountiful spread,
We breakfasted happy together, —
While the log and the kettle sang merry and long,
And the sunbeams peeped in, just to hear the sweet
For darkness and storm fled away with the night,
And morning most lovely arose \
And the rain-drops, like diamonds, were clustering
When the breeze lightly waved the green boughs ;
Beneath, all was freshness and fragrance and love,
And a blue sky, unshadowed, bent o'er us above.
And again is Old Sorrel in travelling trim,
For the journey that's nearing its end ;
OLD SORREL. 47
Poor fellow ! no switches we'll gather for him,
But sprays of the lithe willow bend,
To arrest the warm sunbeams, and fan his old brows :
He shall go as he .lists, and may stand, if he choose,
In the shade of the woodland, and halt at the creek,
And then we will rest awhile too j
And Anna and Libby for lilies will seek,
And bring us the spider-wort blue ;
Wild rose and pink laurel we'll find as we roam,
And break off the branches and carry them home.
And then at the gate, where they've watched for us
Our hero in laurels shall stand.
Now, thank ye Old Sorrel, — for his is the song
Of our perils by water and land ;
And pray ye, forget not, while list'ning to me,
The one who is lacking the winner may be.
And I too will thank him, that brightly once more,
In the freshness of morning, I see
The roses and woodbines climb up round the door,
And the children beneath the green tree ;
And sweet faces look upward, and smile through the
Whither gone ? They have fled with the light of the
" Close my eyes, and whisper low ;
Wheresoe'er you will, I go.
When seven chimes the distant bell,
Pray ye, break the magio spell."
Lowly, at their father's door,
As the steeple-clock strikes four,
In the open summer air,
Where the poplar branches gay
Cast their shadows on the way,
Sit two maidens fair.
All in snowy white are they,
With a red rose, fresh and gay,
Deftly in the bosom pressed.
Happy roses ! proud to be
Chosen from the garden tree,
Sweetly there to rest.
Wherefore, up and down the street
Turns their gaze ? With restless feet,
Why forsake that shady spot ?
For up or down there's nought to see ;
Or if there is, unwittingly
They see, but know it not.
52 THE MESMERIZED.
For nature, careless of their mood,
Toiling, thoughtful for their good,
Yearning ever for their love,
Will grave their hearts most faithfully,
With grass, and flower, and budding tree,
And bright blue aky above.
The humble fence, the mossy roof,
The mulberry-tree, that stands aloof,
Are dear to them, they ask not why :
Is it they've long companioned been
With wind, and rain, and the dew-sheen,
Dawning, and twilight sky ?
But ah ! their vagrant hearts to-day,
Unheeding, reck not what I say ;
They slight these old, familiar things :
The elder little girl is wise, —
The younger tieth and unties,
Ten times, her bonnet strings.
They come; — a man of grave address,
He leads along, — Oh happiness ! —
A rare and lovely little one :
He saith, " This is my daughter dear;
Go, tell your father I am here :
'Tis time that we were gone."
Fair as her dress of snowy lawn
The maiden is ; while downward drawn,
The shadows from the leaves are strewn ;
THE MESMERIZED. 53
Till like a dappled fawn she seems,
That loves, by bowery forest streams,
Happy to live alone.
Eyes dark and full, and sweetly clear ;
Brown hair, smooth parted to the ear;
And soft, round cheek, too lily fair,
And features moulded exquisite,
And dimpled arm, and lightsome feet,
The picture lovely does complete,
That stands before them there.
Oh ! joy to hold that little hand,
And walk away, a happy band,
Leaving afar the trodden ground )
The greensward, yielding to their feet,
Sends up a fragrance fresh and sweet,
A soft and mossy sound.
Daisies and buttercups they pull,
Sweet violets here and there they cull,
In covert nooks beside the lane ;
They see the fields, with clover white,
Or, waiting for the reaper, bright
With stalks of golden grain.
Or peep through open gates, where meet,
On trellis fine, the roses sweet,
Eound snowy shaft, and arbor tall ;
And fragrant jasmines cling, and twine
With coral honeysuckle vine,
Above the garden wall.
54 THE MESMERIZED.
Or turn aside, as well they may,
Beneath the spreading oaks to play,
Where haply, acorns they may find,
With dainty saucer, fitly hound
To glossy cup, all gold embrowned
By sun, and rain, and wind.
Oh ! blessed is that shady nook,
Where, 'tween the palings white, they look :
There bright against the cottage wall,
The crimson hollyhocks are gay,
And, happy darlings of the day,
The golden sunflowers tall.
The altheas there no rivals know, —
Around the very eaves they blow,
So red and winsome to behold \
While woodbine sweet, with purply green
The lattice wreathes, and peeps between
The curtain's snowy fold.
The dame without the doorstep sits, —
Her needles bright she plies, and knits,
Her eyes are beaming brightly too ;
While cap and kerchief, plaited fair,
And apron, glossed with matchless care,
Become the skirt of blue.
The old man, nodding, dozes by;
The dog curls up, with half-shut eye ;
The kitten has the ball unwound :
THE MESMERIZED. 55
They're all as happy as the day;
And like it, shed a sunny ray,
That gladdens all around.
Awhile the children stop to rest,
Where many hoary trees abreast
Make cool and dark the mossy ground ;
Through the old wall a lovely sight
They see, of marble glistening white,
And many a grassy mound.
And all around, on graven stone
And velvet turf, are rose-leaves sown ;
And, lettered beautiful and fair,
The marble tells, how to their home
The lovely and the blessed come,
To slumber peaceful there.
Then does the little fair one say, —
" Beneath the shining skies alway,
How happy are the children dead !
With the sweet white roses blown,
Eound about the marble stone,
And their father dear above,
And the little birds they love,
All day singing nigh their bed.
" With hands close folded on his breast,
They laid my brother dear to rest ;
Some day his lovely face I'll see, —
56 THE MESMERIZED.
For in my sleep I often hear
An angel singing, sweet and clear,
c Come live in heaven with me !' "
As slow they leave the churchyard green,
Afar are hills and valleys seen
Smiling the cjosing branches through ;
And upland fields, and roads that, red,
Wind from the river's shining bed,
To meet the woodlands blue.
At last before a gate they stand,
Of garden, loveliest in the land ;
In sooth, it were almost a sin
To tempt the grassy pathways wide :
If passing fair it be outside,
What must it be within ?
Have you e'er seen fair ladies tall
Their arms high lift, while pliant, all
Their taper fingers lithely twine,
" Open the gates high as the sky,"
To let the little troop pass by,
Of king and courtiers fine ?
So do these warders of the land,
Two shapely trees, entwining stand,
Nor aye permit a footstep rude ;
And it becometh every one
To whisper low, nor lightly on
The stillness sweet intrude.
THE MESMERIZED. 57
As when a dainty hand is seen,
The shadow and the sun between,
Suffused the lily fingers glow,
Like wine in finely fretted vase ;
So do the leaves, where interlace
Alternate, bough with bough.
Opens the gate by unseen hand ?
Or is it that the little band
Are 'wildered by the vision rare ?
They need not be, — 'tis quiet all ;
So quiet, you may hear the fall
Of every footstep there.
Only in dreams might you behold
Such rainbow hues, and tints of gold,
As broider all the alleys round ;
Where through the leaves the summer air,
Perfumed with countless blossoms fair,
Sings with a pleasant sound.
The pansies here at will do grow,
Untroubled they by spade or hoe ;
Their smiling faces you may meet,
Like truant children, everywhere;
They're springing here, and peeping there,
And hiding at your feet.
At intervals are stately trees, •
Solemn and high ; yet, as they please,
The little birds do sing and fly
In the cleft branches, as they ply
58 THE MESMERIZED.
With moss, and twig, and silken down ;
And 'tween the roots, so old and brown,
The violet lifts its eye.
The thoughtless violets ! at ease,
TJnfearing, 'neath the hoary trees,
They loving live, and happy smile ;
They of the morrow take no heed,
Nor care to ripe their golden seed,
But upward look the while
Trustfully, in the sky so blue,
Till, won by love, its deepest hue
Is theirs. Oh ! little children fair,
Hope on, trust on ! a love is nigh,
That, thoughtful folding flower and sky,
Will have of you a care !
For you the summer winds soft breathe,
The sunshine and the shadow sheathe
Their wisdom in the passing joy ;
The birds within the hoary tree,
Sing that your coming day may be
Lightened by sweet employ.
Now search they well ; — beneath is seen
A slender shaft of purply green,
With tender bell, faint fleckered o'er,
Where hides the flower its shining store.
Ah, violet wise ! who deemed the while,
That, lurking 'neath -that thoughtless smile,
Was loving care so true !
THE MESMERIZED. 59
Why speak of roses, where they seem
The spirit roses of a dream ?
Nor fullblown flower, nor bud are they;
They blush not deep, these roses rare,
And hue with hue melts, soft as air,
With fold on fold away ;
Till pale, the lovely leaves incline
To blend, like this sweet cheek of thine,
With sunshine and the day.
Who praiseth not the lily fair ?
Who singeth not of roses rare ?
Who loveth not the violet blue ?
But, four-o'clock ! my merry one !
What singer underneath the sun
E'er thought to sing of you ?
Who, without bell, or dial wise,
Know when to ope your lovely eyes
To sunlight and the dew.
Here myrtles make their lowly bed
Of glfcssy green, — and peonies shed
Their lustrous leaves of crimson red :
Ah ! take them home, if so ye will,
And when you con your primer o'er,
The song of bird, the scent of flower,
The beauty of this golden hour,
Will hover round you still.
My dainty columbine ! wouldst know
How fair she is ? at sunrise go
60 THE MESMERIZED.
Seek her in paths where morning beam
Has stolen not the shimmer fine,
Prom spider-web and creeping vine ;
Ere from her leaves of green,
One ray has kissed the beaded brim,
Or touched the crystal drop, within
The emerald cup, whose silver rim
Might tempt a fairy queen.
Here graceful trails the sleeping vine ;
See how its tendrils cling and twine,
Transparent in the sunny beam ;
So light and delicately gay,
Like creature of a summer day,
With wings of golden green.
And art thou weary, little maid ?
Well, here's a bower with coolest shade :
See how the glancing sunbeams come
Through stem, like coral from the sea,
A creeper ; where all day the bee
Hums o'er the downy bloom.
The morning-glories here were bright
At dawn, — deep purple, purest white ;
Some blushed like roses, others vied
With the blue sky ; but warmer ray
Touched the fair flowers, they turned away,
Bowed low their heads and died.
The merry maidens grieve not long;
On tiptoe they are pulling down
THE MESMERIZED. 61
The shrunken beauties, one by one ;
Filled by their breath, how plump they smile ;
They chat and laugh right gleesome, while
They fire the mimic gun.
But what is this ? Oh, can it be !
Bright cherries gathered from the tree :
A very feast ! high heaped they are,
With leaf and stem ; — were you inclined
To search the world, you could not find
Cherries so red and rare.
Then says one little girl, " The face
Of him, who keeps such lovely place,
I wish that I for once might see."
" Well, there he is, with spade and hoe."
The maid is wise and whispers low, —
" I know that cannot be :
" For beautiful must be his face.
He hides him in some lonely place,
Among the shady alleys green.
I know that he is grand and gay,
And will not come to us to-day,
And cares not to be seen."
Such mosses lie beneath their feet !
Perchance, by moonlight, fairies meet
Within this very bower, to braid
Wreaths from the tiny tufts so bright,
Of crimson down, and blossom white,
And dance beneath the shade.
62 THE MESMERIZED.
The air is cool, the sun has gone,
Yet will we see the primrose blown
Wide open, ere the light grows dim :
And, children dear, before j 7 ou go,
For us, with voices sweet and low,
Ye'll sing the evening hymn.
Sleep, lovely flowers,
Closed are your eyes ;
With the bright hours,
Blooming ye'll rise.
Far all the sky light-
Ly golden is seen ;
Comes silver twilight,
Bee unto bee hums, —
" Haste home away !
Sweeter thy sleep comes,
Toiled for by day."
Bird unto bird sings, —
" Come to thy nest !"
Echo, low heard, rings,
" Come to thy rest !"
Dew on the blossoms
Falls from the sky ;
So to our bosoms
Peace from on high.
THE MESMERIZED. 63
Earth's prayer low stealeth
Upward to heaven,
As one who kneeleth,
Blessed and forgiven.
Stars shine above us,
Dark shadows fall :
Pray Him to love us,
Who loveth all.
Distant and dim, now
Fadeth the day,
Faint with our hymn, low
The starry primrose, lone and bright,
Unfolds her beauty to the night ;
The sleeping vine to rest has gone
With folded leaves, beneath her smile,
Lulled by her fragrant breath the while,
To slumber till the dawn.
Ere at the gate, sweet maids, we part,
A token from each loving heart :
The rose from thee, the violet thine ;
And thou, fair child with lily brow,
Give me the flower where doth grow
The symbol so divine.
Wan is the rose, — the violet blue
Has paled ; — the passion-flower too
64 THE MESMERIZED.
Is withered quite : yet does endure
The sign it loves so well, all bright,
Unfaded in the waning light,
Upon its bosom pure.
Canst tell me why this flower has pressed
The cross unto her spotless breast ?
Take to thy heart this, loveliest one !
There to abide when long has gone
Its morning bloom, and soothe the lone-
Ly twilight of its rest.
Sweet in that twilight may the past,
Fadeless in beauty to the last,
With memories of these shining hours.
Your spirits with new life imbue ; —
And freshly fall, as evening dew
Falls on the sleeping flowers.
'Tis growing dark; — the distant spire
No longer glitters in the fire
That rims the woodlands in the west.
Hark ! from afar the steeple-bell
Calls me away. Children, farewell !
And peaceful be your rest.
THE SPINNING WHEEL.
SEVERAL SUMMERS OF OUR MOTHER S CHILDHOOD
WERE SPENT IN " THE VALLEY," CHESTER COUNTY,
PENNSYLVANIA, AT " AUNT SALLIE WOODMAN^,"
THE " DAME" SO OFTEN MENTIONED IN THE POEM.
AFTER MANY YEARS HAD PASSED, SHE INTENDED
RETURNING WITH HER CHILDREN TO SPEND ONE
MORE SUMMER AT THE HOUSE OF HER OLD FRIEND }
BUT ILLNESS PREVENTED THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF
HER DESIRE, AND WHEN AT LENGTH SHE DID GO,
"AUNT SALLIE" WAS NOT THERE TO WELCOME HER.
SONG OF THE SPINNING WHEEL.
Sweet as the old familiar hum
In drowsy murmur floats along,
A thousand flitting memories come,
And fill the pauses of the song.
Tones silent long, yet ever dear,
In whispered chorus faintly steal ;
And shadowy footsteps glide anear,
As whirls the swift-revolving wheel.
Oh halcyon days ! securely moored
In the far haven of the past,
The storms by after years endured,
A shining halo round ye cast !
In that sweet morning-light, once more
The old walls sunny- warm I see ;
The flagstones round the lowly door,
O'ershadowed by the walnut tree.
The glancing sunbeams from aloof,
Dappling the footworn sill below,
Till oaken floor and raftered roof
Are bright in the reflected glow.
68 THE SONG OF
The open window, where the bees,
Fresh from the clover, loved to steal,
And, poised on silken pinions, hum
In concert with the busy wheel.
The meadow-ground that, brightly green,
Eevealed the streamlet's winding way ;
The willow, where it dipped the stream,
The merry haunt of childhood's play.
The road, where, in the waters cool,
The steed would plunge his weary feet ;
The cattle, standing in the pool,
Screened from the summer's noonday heat.
The distant fields, the upland waste,
The dark herds wandering at will,
The sunshine, as it fleetly chased
The shadows down the breezy hill.
Hum on ! As winds the lengthening yarn,
Its strands a golden thread reveal,
And bright-winged joys of other days
Are hovering round the circling wheel.
A child is resting on the sill :
Fresh from the fields and woodland bowers
She's gathered, at her own wikl will,
An apron full of sprays and flowers.
The huge stone jar she fills anew, —
Deftly her hands the flowers have placed;
THE SPINNING WHEEL. 09
The grim old chimney smiles in view,
* With all her budding treasures graced.
With merry feint, the wheel she plies,
And gaily trips the slippery floor,
While shapeless broach, and broken yarn,
Still mock at her pretended lore.
Gone are the lingering rays, and gone
Her transient mirth ; she seeks once more
Her place beside the dame she loves,
Within the shadow of the door.
There, as the rosy twilight pales,
In converse low the moments steal,
Till night the lovely landscape veils,
And silent stands the weary wheel.
Eest in thy nook, the week is o'er ;
Clear and unclouded smile the skies,
Foretelling, that for thee and all,
The day of rest will brightly rise.
Oh Sabbath days ! were ye indeed
Brighter than other days of old ?
Was the world greener ? Did the skies
The earth more lovingly enfold ?
Oh days most fair ! did ye, in sooth,
To happier, holier measure flow ?
Eevealed the heavens a tenderer blue ?
Did the red roses lovelier blow ?
70 THE SONG OP
Sang the birds sweeter ? Stole the rays
More solemn through the leafy tree,
To hover round the dame, who sat
With Holy Bible on her knee ?
Hum on ! for, blending low, I hear
A song, now sad, now joyful, steal ;
And love and hope, as wind the years,
With changeful halos, tint the wheel.
Full many a time the shadowing tree
Renews its beauty with the spring,
And there, enticed, the little birds
Love well to build their nests and sing.
And oft at eve, the weary dame
Looks out upon the scene so fair,
With yearning heart ; — the little child
With bounding step — no more is there.
Aye, twice ten times the shadowing tree
Renewed its beauty with the spring ;
And there as oft the little birds
Have come to build their nests and sing.
And now, around the sunny eaves
The chilly breezes come and go ;
And on the hearth, and in th£ leaves,
The cricket's chirp is faint and low.
The dame arises from her couch, —
Illumed with joy her eyes so meek - y
THE SPINNING WHEEL. 71
While feeble currents faintly lend
Unwonted brightness to her cheek.
" To-day," she says, " the little child
Returns, I loved so well of yore :
Mine eyes with many years are dim,
But I may hear her voice once more.
" Untouched by all the changeful past,
She keeps her early love for me ;
And to my heart, while life doth last,
She still a < little child 1 will be.
" Now place me where the sunbeams fall,
That they may warm my feeble frame,
And I with patience there will bide
The passing hours :" — so said the dame.
" Bring me my cap and kerchief clear,
The gown I wore long years ago ;
For as she left me, seated here,
I would that she should see me now."
The red light, lingering, left the hill :
The stars shone forth, — she watched in vain :
The little child and aged dame
On earth might never meet again !
Flow on, thoii sweet, familiar song !
Subdued, thy olden tale reveal ;
For solemn seems the light that smiles
In beauty on the ancient wheel.
72 THE SONG OP
Tell how the years that, passing, left
Their impress on her cheek and hrow,
And the worn frame, of strength bereft,
Ne'er chilled her spirit's kindly glow.
How the sweet promise of her life,
So hopeful in its dawning day,
Fulfilled its own ; — how sin nor strife
Ne'er cast a shadow on her way.
How the sad child of guilt and care,
Won by her pitying love alone,
Forsook the fatal lure, and where
She lowly guided, followed on.
Tell how, as fell the evening shade,
Her life did heavenlier hues reveal,
Till death, kind angel, gently laid
His finger on the flagging wheel.
Wind on ! As lovely fades the past,
Trailing, a golden web I see,
Whose broken fragments, linked at last,
Brighter than robe of Ind will be.
Wind on ! for, through the misty gloom,
A finer radiance seems to steal,
Where, dimly seen, a shining band
Are hovering round the fading wheel.
Sweet, as the old, familiar song,
In drowsy murmur dies away,
THE SPINNING WHEEL. 73
The airy shadows glide along,
And mingle with the twilight gray.
And as they vanish seem to sigh,
In tones that, sadly soothing, steal :
Toil on, faint heart ! the eve is nigh, —
Then sweetly rest thee at the wheel.
THE FIVE MAIDENS.
Often, without thought or will,
When the hours flow sweetly still,
Happy visions come ;
Five young loving maids I see,
Underneath a leafy tree,
On a mossy stone.
Eound about the tree's dark rind,
Sarah's snowy arm is twined,
In thoughtful revery :
Her soft eyes seek the ground below,
Or watch the waves that rippling flow,
In murmuring melody.
Mary,— o'er thy golden hair,
O'er thy face, divinely fair,
Streams the sunlight warm ;
Angel child ! so wisely meek,
Is the light upon that cheek
Thine, or of the morn ?
One is springing upward now
Lightsome towards the bending bough :
Can its glossy wreath
THE FIVE MAIDENS.
With a brighter beauty bless
The transcendent loveliness
Of the brow beneath ?
Hues of amber, lustrous shades,
Mingle in her folded braids,
Summer blue her eyes ;
Tints of early blossoms bright,
Lingering smiles, and airy light,
Lent from fairer skies.
Two are resting side by side,
Where the peaceful waters glide, —
Loving friends are they :
One, in whose clear, happy eyes,
Beams the soul without disguise,
Open as the day.
Siren voices lure, in vain,
Spirit steadfast to attain
Love and truth and good ;
But the wayward dreamer there,
Takes from sun and cloud and air
Every transient mood.
" Let us seek the maidens fair; —
Build a lovely bower there,
'Neath the leafy tree.
Lo ! the clouds are softly bright ;
All the air is golden light :
There I'll live with thee."
THE FIVE MAIDENS. 79
Mary, vainly would we seek :
Soon the bloom on Sarah's cheek
Paled to deadly white.
Yet awhile sweet Mary's eyes
. Shone like stars in evening skies,
Then were closed in night.
When a few bright years had passed,
Then the beautiful was clasped
To the earth's green breast :
She, the earnest, loving, true,
Vanished aye from mortal view,
To eternal rest.
" One is left : when springtime comes,
When the early violet blooms,
She will lead me there :
Listening to the river's flow,
We will whisper soft and low
Of the maidens fair."
Ever round the leafy tree
Sings the wind most mournfully,
With a dirgelike strain :
Eound the clear bright waters moan ;
Of the maidens five, not one
E'er will come again !
I WILL LOVE THEE, AND FOR AYE.
" I will love thee, and for aye !"
In the silence passed away :
Vain, though morn, from rosy skies,
Pours her richest melodies ;
Yain, though evening, shadowy fair,
Thrills with subtler tones the air,
Though the winds and waves may bear
Music to the list'ning ear :
Dearer far that olden lay, —
" I will love thee, and for aye 1"
Sweetest song, from sad hearts wrung,
Sweetest song, though idly sung,
When the twilight's purple haze
Lingers o'er the grassy ways; .
While one lone and lovely star
Watcheth from the hills afar,
And the rustling air, that sings
Through the trees in mazy rings,
Echoes as it dies away,
" I will love thee, and for aye !"
Sweet as holy Sabbath hymn
Chanted in some woodland dim,
I WILL LOVE THEE, AND FOR AYE. 81
Where the golden sunbeams come
Softened through the tender gloom,
And the river flows around,
In a solemn measure bound;
Till the silent mourner there
Lifts his eye, in praise and prayer,
To the peaceful skies, that say,
" I will love thee, and for aye !"
Costly coin, of wealth untold,
Earer than the ruddy gold
From the alembic rich distilled,
With gifts of heavenly virtue filled,
Where the loving heart doth pour
Stintless measure evermore ;
Meet for beauty's balmy breath ;
Meet, when through the dews of death
Dying glances faintly say,
" I will love thee, and for aye !"
Are the tones we hear no more
Wafted from a distant shore,
Where, from springs that living rise,
Quenched, the weary life-thirst dies ?
Is the treasure, lost so long,
Garnered for the seeker there ?
Does that ne'er forgotten song
Fill with peace the immortal air ?
Then do spirit voices say,
" I will love thee, and for aye !"
Twilight shadows, softly come,
Deeper, darker, round our home ;
Lulled to rest, earth peaceful lies,
Folded in the starry skies.
Solemn chimes, a call to prayer,
Floating, fill the summer air :
Listen ! Deep within the heart,
Sweet the peace those tones impart.
If we, through the passing day,
Have been led from good astray, —
If our purity has been
Dimmed by aught of earthly sin,
Let the beauty and repose,
Flowing round at evening close,
Fill our hearts, and thus renew
All that's lovely, bright, and true.
Shadowy night and sunny day
Pass like angel forms away ;
For the spirit good and pure,
Leaving gifts that aye endure.
THE TWIN FOUNTAINS.
Down in a valley, all grassy green,
An ancient oak-tree lives alone ;
Huge and dark are its roots, I ween,
Coiling around the slippery stone.
'Twas a blessed boon to wander round
In its summer shadow, a spirit free ;
For fountains twin gushed forth, and bound,
In crystal fetters, the hoary tree.
One had been tinged by the orient morn ;
One by the emerald-tinted day ;
But in glad embracing they met, and borne
In silvery sheen they rolled away.
Would that I were but a child, to lave
In the limpid waters my weary feet,
Or bow my lip to the cooling wave,
Till it charmed my pulses to stillness sweet.
There with the forest-bird I'd sing,
In the gorgeous shadows, at set of sun,
And watch the whirl of the glassy ring
Where the song, and the fount, and the wave
84 THE TWIN FOUNTAINS.
For it Bingeth a song, nor sad, nor gay,
Witching the heart with a 'wildering spell,
And never beginning nor ending, aye,
You list for the tale it may not tell.
Loveliest fountains, in upward prayer
Lonely ye toiled through a fearful way :
Spirit-like fountains, beautiful there,
Blending at last in the boundless day.
'Tis night, but the heaven is glowing afar,
Blue as the morning's eye :
Who careth to sleep when the wild Nor'west
Comes piping adown the sky ?
The scattered clouds, a broken band,
Are speeding darkly along ;
They sweep the bright stars from the glistening sky,
As he singeth his stormy song.
Oh ! the NorVest wind is a spirit brave,
And he cometh from afar ;
He was cradled far down in the depths that yawn
Beneath the Polar star.
Where no mortal foot hath been, he hath left
His track o'er the snowy plain ;
And listened the tread of phantoms dread,
With banner and spear of flame )
Nor quailed at the ghastly fires, that streamed
Athwart the ensanguined sky,
But echoed the rushing of countless wings,
And the song of victory.
Where the billows are booming on frozen shores,
Oh, there right kingly is he !
His pinnacled throne, the iceberg lone,
His empire the boundless sea.
When lurid the sky and wild the sea,
He glideth swiftly down,
And the waves recoil from his fearful breath,
As he tosseth the blinding foam.
He rideth aloft o'er the mountain chain, —
Eare sport doth he meet with there ;
For he spinneth the snow in lightning flow,
Till it gleam like.a witch's hair.
And fiercely he striketh the mountain pines,
Till they thrill with his battle cry, —
And turneth them round with a madman's joy,
And hurleth them far on high.
Oh ! the ISTor'west wind is a spirit brave, —
Eight gladly welcome is he ;
For he bringeth fine air, and fancies clear,
And a pulse elastic and free.
Then who careth to sleep, when the wild Nor'west
Comes piping merrily by ?
With his hair of light, and his eye as bright
And blue as the starry sky.
A shade o'er the sunshine,
A gloom in the trees,
A low, brooding stillness,
A wail in the breeze :
The giant clouds rally,
O'er hillside and valley;
Oh wait not, nor dally !
'Tis coming — the rain 4 !
The fast-falling rain !
The hills, crowned with sunshine,
Of glory are shorn ;
The leaden flood glasseth
And pales at the storm ;
The waters are blending,
All madly contending,
The tall trees are bending,
They struggle and writhe
In the fierce, dashing rain.
Dimly looming from far,
Tower, forest, and mountain,
Now vanished and lost
In the wide-spreading fountain :
88 A SHOWER.
The fearless trees bowing,
Like rivers are flowing,
The blackened rind glowing;
All steeped in the rain,
The merciless rain.
Wild Nature is breathless,
Her fury is o'er :
The clouds break ! Oh, welcome
The sunshine once more !
The tiny stream gushes,
The broad river rushes, —
The western sky flushes,
Bose-hued, in the sheen
Of the fast-falling rain.
A rainbow ! thrown brightly
Across the dark sky;
Soft curving, proud arching,
In beauty on high :
It circles the even,
A bridal ring, given
To wed earth with heaven,
As it smiles 'neath the veil
Of the glittering rain.
The sun-land's before us,
The storm-land behind ;
The starry leaves glimmer,
And wave in the wind :
A DREAM. 89
The gale is upspringing,
Soft clouds are winging,
Happy birds singing,
Farewell to the rain,
The beautiful rain !
Far from my pillow passed away
The restless murmurs of the day,
That chafe night's starry shores alway,
With sad, continuous moan.
An indistinct and dreamy sound,
Like chime of distant bells profound,
My senses lulled; and sweetly bound,
The past and now were one.
In that deep rest where life flows clear,
Unstirred by hope, undimmed by fear,
I heard a well-loved voice anear,
" I come and wait for thee."
Like lightning swift, yet passing still,
Pervaded all my frame a thrill
Of joy serene ; — a spirit's will,
A spirit's song alone
Might wake that inward, blest delight ;
A dawn stole round me, softly bright,
90 A DREAM.
Bevealing, in its kindling light,
The beauty of thy face :
Sweet was its smile on earth, but there
The bloom of life divinely fair,
It hallowed all the shining air
With an immortal grace.
As when, by lonely forest stream,
The evening sheds a golden beam,
Tinging, with pale ethereal gleam,
A lovely lily-bell )
So did the light around thee flow,
And, parted from thy radiant brow,
Like clouds upon the mountain snow,
The soft hair waved and fell.
And hand in hand we took our way :
The fields in Sabbath quiet lay ;
And o'er the hills a dawning day,
A sunless morning shone :
Its glory o'er the vales was shed )
Its light was where our steps were led,
By streams from heavenly sources fed,
That, silent, wandered on.
Life's weary thralls, its woful cares,
Its grief that wounds, its guilt that sears,
Its gleams of sunshine, lost in tears,
Its mournful shadow, gone !
Blessed His peace who dwells on high,
A DREAM. 91
Encompassed by the boundless sky,
Where tones of spheral melody
Float 'neath the starry dome ;
And odors from far valleys rise, .
And faintly earthborn melodies
Blend with the music of the skies,
Around His heaven-girt home.
More blest the oblivion complete,
The perfect peace, where round our feet
All the green paths were bright and sweet
With flowers of fadeless bloom.
Oh land where springs the deathless rose !
Land where the stillness ever flows,
Like far-off music at the close,
I might not there abide.
Darkly the waters glide between,
That part me from that lovely scene,
Where blest I walked in joy serene,
An angel by my side.
The stars are fading fast away,
Beyond the hills, a silvery ray
Heralds the morn, and calls away
From dreams of heaven and thee.
THE AUTUMNAL DAY.
Foe once, that I might wander far,
Far out into this autumn day,
And breathe the bright, elastic air,
And trace the half-forgotten way :
A day so rare, so deeply tinged
With the sweet life warm flowing down,
That light and shadow, leaf and stem,
Seem fused in lovely unison.
I long to walk on rustling leaves,
That in the woody places fall ;
And turn to catch the golden rays
Of evening, flickering over all.
To touch the dark moist earth, to part
The waters with resisting hand,
Wild leaping through their rocky paths,
Or coursing o'er the shining sand.
To climb the rugged steep, and stand
Where downward slope the valleys fair;
And feel my heritage to be
The sunshine and the open air.
THE AUTUMNAL DAY. 93
Through purple vistas far away,
To see the sunny upland gleam ;
And watch the dying foliage wave,
Deep mirrored in the glassy stream.
Call it not death ! A finer life
Than spring e'er gave, emerges now j
A saddened glory fills the air,
And trembles on the bending bough.
A light, unfading and divine,
Gleams through this passing loveliness ;
The murmur of a deep repose,
A symbol of the spirit's rest.
Farewell, bright day ! slow gliding down
Yon peaceful sea of boundless light,
Thy drooping pinions softly veil
The silent shadows of the night.
Like thee, Oh Earth ! we linger yet,
'Midst glory gone, and darkening skies ;
Like thee, in twilight's hush, await
To see the eternal stars arise.
THE BUCKWHEAT AT MORN.
As I opened the window, the dew-burdened trees
Shook the glittering drops in the air;
And perfumes came wafted upon the fresh breeze,
From wide, sunny hay-fields afar :
All vainly you pleaded ; I heard not the tale, —
That moment enchanted was I ; —
Around me was floating the pure meadow-gale,
Above me the beautiful sky,
The wild robin's notes came afar from the wood,
In fine airy melody borne,
And the song of the rill, as in fancy I stood
Again in the buckwheat at morn.
And there was the woodland, where early I conned
My lessons of wild forest lore ;
Each leafy recess of that oft-trodden ground
Was dear to my bosom of yore.
The far-spreading orchard, — the high, grassy slope,
Whose summit the chestnut-trees crowned,
Where the red light of evening, through archway
Ever shed a dim glory around.
How often I wished with the bird I might be
On the high, waving branches upborne )
THE STORM IS O'ER. 95
And the hills far away, in the blue distance see,
As I stood in the buckwheat at morn.
The barn on the hillside, the house in the vale,
Lay revealed in the soft morning light ;
And the old mossy roof, whence the smoke told a
Of welcome from morn until night.
And it seemed as I gazed, o'er the half-opened door
A hand gently beckoned me there,
And I saw a mild eye gently beaming once more,
And a voice murmured low in my ear,
" Thy bonnet is damp, and thy feet dripping too ;
Come here, — thou art weary and worn :
Dear child, when the blossoms are heavy with dew,
Why away through the buckwheat at morn ?"
THE STORM IS O'ER.
The storm is o'er, through the drifting clouds
Oh welcome the bright blue sky !
While merrily blows the rustling gale
In fitful music by,
Our souls a strong, wild vigor feel ;
Our hearts beat full and free :
Nature the impulse glad receives,
And Nature's children we.
96 THE STORM IS O'ER.
Behold, where in the distant heavens,
The parting clouds expand !
Dark portals, where beyond appears
A fair enchanted land ;
There lovely, graceful forms of light
Float o'er the hills serene,
And emerald seas in stillness sleep,
The purple vales between.
Earth veils with transient gloom her face,
As darker grows the sky,
Then lovelier, blushes in the light,
Eeflected from on high.
See yonder clouds, like warriors grim,
Their sable trains unfold,
And down the heavenly pathways glide,
With crests of burnished gold.
Oh, could we but with pinions free,
Leaving the world behind,
Track, over sea and mountain far,
Those travellers with the wind !
Vanished the glorious pageant all,
To seek some distant shore :
The blessed light, the boundless blue,
Eejoice the earth once more !
BENEATH THE EVENING'S SILVER
Beneath the evening's silver star,
Ere yet receding twilight dies,
While slant the moonbeams from afar,
What dear enchantments round us rise :
In distance fades life's rugged shore, —
O'er airy seas we glide along ;
While Memory plies the magic oar,
And plaintive sings her dreamy song.
And as she chants that olden- lay,
Sweet tones, sweet faces mingling come,
And lure our spirits far away,
'Mid isles that wear perpetual bloom.
In that fair world forever 'bide,
Time disenthralled, our sunniest hours.
No storms may fret that peaceful tide,
No blight consume the fadeless flowers.
And long, as from the hills afar,
The day with lingering step shall steal,
And long as moon and dewy star,
Their blended loveliness reveal;
Long, as descends this mystic hour,
So linked with beauty from above :
Our hearts will turn, and seek once more
The golden land of Youth and Love.
THE WOODLAND SONG.
Ye spirits, that haunt the green depths of the wood-
Who swift from the sound of our footsteps retreat,
Farewell to your bowers, your wild forest flowers,
That spring from the carpet ye spread for our feet.
Ah ! fain would we linger, till over the waters,
The sunset is shedding its last rosy ray ;
Where clear waves are flowing, and coming and
Far under, sweet phantoms are gliding away.
When suddenly turning, we met the wild gleaming
Of bright, starry eyes through the shadowy trees,
And snowy wings glancing, and airy forms dancing,
Far down the long alleys, in sunshine and breeze.
Ah ! fain would we linger, &c.
Say, was it but echo, or heard we your voices
Far follow the track of the warm summer wind ?
Or fountain upspringing, its joy ever singing,
Or clear, merry ringing of laughter behind ?
Ah ! fain would we linger, &c.
When from our young morning the rose-hues have
And thought wanders back to the wild forest dell,
MAY DAY SONG. 99
These days will be dearest, these scenes ever fairest :
Sweet spirits that haunt the green woodlands, fare-
Ah ! fain would we linger, &c.
MAY DAY SONG.
The smile of the morning is sweetly adorning
The hill and the valley, the meadow and stream ;
It brightens the blossoms, it lightens our bosoms,
While joyful we're singing round Mary our Queen.
The blue sky is o'er us, the May day before us,
All nature around us is lovely and gay ;
Hand in hand, heart with heart, we'll unite in
While crowning with garlands our Queen of
With chirping and singing the woodland is ringing,
Its flowering sprays we will strew at her feet ;
With bud and with blossom adorn her young bosom,
And twine in her tresses the wild roses sweet.
The blue sky is o'er us, &c.
With flowers embossed be her throne soft and mossy
Her canopy 'broidered with azure and green,
Her eye be the brightest, her step be the lightest,
And gentle the sway of sweet Mary our Queen.
The blue sky is o'er us, &c.
Sunny-winged, the happy hours,
Lightsome dancing, sped away,
When with songs and wreaths of flowers,
Glad we welcomed in the May.
Fragrant blossoms of the springtime,
Summer smiled, and ye were gone !
Eadiant roses, blown at morning,
Eve beheld you pale and wan !
Noble trees, so bright in budding,
Brighter still in your decay !
Why so lovely in its fading,
Falls your summer dower away ?
For along the woody pathways,
And the saddened streams beside,
Trophies of your waning glory,
Autumn winds have scattered wide.
Merry birds have ceased their singing,
Faintly chime the running rills ;
And a soft and sunny halo
Hovers o'er the distant hills.
AUTUMN SONG. 101
From the orchard-ground, and wayside,
Kuddy-ripe, the fruit is borne ;
They the purple grapes have gathered, —
They have bound the tasselled corn.
On her shrines, o'er hill and valley,
By her woodland altars wide,
Queenly Autumn, rich in beauty,
Lays her regal robes aside.
Sweetly singing, as she passeth
From the fading earth away, —
" Wait, till smiling Spring returning,
Ushers in the rosy May."
THE TWILIGHT HOUR.
Often, when the misty night
Comes apace, with welcome gloom,
Hear I footsteps soft and light,
Stealing through the darkened room :
Then fair faces, young and bright,
Come between me and the gloom.
Open palm, and rosy mouth
To my cheek soon find their way,
And a winning voice forsooth,
Pleading in my ear, doth say,
" Tell me song, or tale of truth;"
And she will not take my nay.
Children, have you heard the shell
Moaning for a distant shore,
Voices that it loved so well
Sounding echo o'er and o'er ?
Still within its winding cell,
You may hear the billows roar.
Or the wind-harp, sad and low,
As a fallen angel's sighs,
Then, like spirit's plaint of woe,
Mournful rising, fill the v skies :
THE TWILIGHT HOUR. 103
Airy voices, solemn, slow,
Bade the music sweet arise.
Like the shell and harp we sing,
By a lordly spirit bound,
We but faintest utterance bring,
From the life that breathes around ;
Matchless song we fain would win :
'Tis the shadow of a sound.
Mary, from the flowering tree
Bring me branches, dew bespread :
Little one, your gift shall be
Violets from their mossy bed,
Or the wild anemone,
Sere leaves, tinted golden red,
Or the chiming pebbles, ye
Gather from the river's bed.
These will sing, while silent, I
Listen with attentive ear,
Then, but half successful, try
To repeat the song I hear :
Happy, if a smile or sigh
Winning from my children dear.
MY LOWLY HOME.
'Tis there the rosy clouds at morn
Float lightly o'er the far hlue sky,
And early warblers, onward borne
To lovelier scenes, go singing by :
No flowery paths around it coil,
Nor fountains in the sunshine play,
But human joys and human toil
Make music round the livelong day ;
And there all purple glows the air,
As red the setting sun goes down,
And chiming bells from far I hear,
Eesounding through my lowly home.
And there the budding trees are bright,
When Spring awakes to life and love,
And quivering sprays, in dalliance light,
To soft, Eolian measures move;
Or with such graceful stillness twine,
Half idly in the air reclined,
They win my pliant heart to chime
With the wild swayings of the wind ;
And there, the ever-changeful sky,
In pictured beauty looketh down ;
And storms, careering wild and high,
Pass onward o'er my lowly home.
There docs the fairest star of eve
Shed glory round the lingering day,
While softly sweet, her vestal smile
Breaks upward through the evening gray ;
When all is silent, peaceful near,
And all is pure and bright above,
The solemn night bends down from far,
O'er me and mine, in pitying love :
There would I live, there would I die,
Where'er my weary steps may roam ;
For life and heaven are dearer, nigh
The threshold of my lowly home.
I rested by a lonely cot, beneath the pine-trees high ;
Around me was the twilight gray,
And far, far down the golden day,
Above me, stars of softest ray
Gleamed through the deepening sky.
Was it a spirit of the pines, the dim old woodland
That glided o'er the cottage floor,
And stood beneath the lowly door,
Bending, in youthful beauty, o'er
The happy garden flowers ?
The silvery light around her fell, and she was more
than fair ;
The slightest, yet the sweetest thing
It was, the sparkling draught to bring,
All fresh and glowing, from the spring,
But Oh, what grace was there !
She lifted unto me her eyes, so fairy-like and clear;
Eyes by pure thoughts and feelings stirred,
And finely cadenced tones I heard,
Like carol of a summer bird,
That singeth ever near.
Ah dove ! within the thicket close, where none may
hear thy song,
Pale lily ! blooming all alone,
Sweet blossom ! in the shadow thrown,
Bright fountain ! flowing on unknown,
The dark, green woods along !
When dreamy twilight steeps the air, when summer
day hath smiled,
When evening breezes faintly sigh,
And stars are in the western sky,
Softly I'll see thee gliding by,
Sweet Emma of the wild !
TO LIZZIE B-
One solitary rose for thee,
Blooms in my garden bed ;
Its sister roses strew the ground,
And gay nasturtium trails unbound, —
Its summer fragrance fled.
Sweet heliotrope is pale and sad,
The honeysuckle still
Perfumes the air; but ah ! its sprays,
High sporting in the sunny rays,
Evade my utmost skill.
But wherefore send this lonely flower ?
When, in thine own dear home,
A fairer blossom doth disclose
Charms, that will brighten when my rose,
Child of an hour, is gone.
May all good fairies of the flowers
On Annie's path attend ;
Endue her form with varied grace,
And, radiant, hovering o'er her face,
Their hues of beauty blend.
108 TO LIZZIE B .
Let violets, dewy bathed, repose
Beneath her eyelids meek,
And rosebuds of the morning, shed j
Upon her lips a glowing red, I
And brightly tinge her cheek. i
The cowslip, to her balmy breath
Its faint perfume impart, —
And pansy bright, with merry wile,
Send archness to the dimpling smile
That gladdens Lizzie's heart.
And ah ! if snowy lilies steal
The roses of an hour,
Oh ! think that spirits pure will keep
Their vigils while the fairies sleep,
And hover round thy flower.
For fairy gifts are but of earth,
And with the earthly die :
May angels then o'er Annie bend,
And with her transient graces, blend
The beauty of the sky.
Lovely rosebud ! wayside blessing,
Bending lowly to the ground ;
Soft thy leaves, with fond caressing,
Fold the ruddy heart around.
Lonely art thou, lingering blossom, —
Wilt thou live and die with me ?
Ah ! the weary, care-worn bosom,
Is no fitting home for thee !
Fairest rosebud, wilt thou wither
On the heart that loves me best ?
Loved and loving sleep together,
With the falling flowers at rest.
All undimmed by shade of sadness
May thy transient beauty flee ;
Bloom unculled, till youth and gladness,
Fairy-fingered, gather thee.
LINES WRITTEN FOR MARY M-
Mt mother dear, when far from thee !
The lonely hours depart, '
Still let thy memory ever be I
Like sunshine to my heart. ,
How often, as my work I ply,
Comes in the freshening wind ;
And then the tears will fill my eye
For all I've left behind :
For, ah ! it sang a dearer lay,
A sweeter song to me ;
When, 'neath the bending boughs at play,
Of our green, leafy tree.
And, mother, when adown the hill,
Blows fresh the western wind,
And hummings from the busy mill
Close follow on behind :
Say, does it bear the sounds of glee,
Of youthful voices dear ?
And do they ever think of me,
Alone and friendless here ?
LINES WRITTEN FOR MARY M . Ill
I I know the sun shines clear and bright
O'er all this fair countrie ;
But not for this his blessed light
I love so well to see :
But that beyond the distant seas
There lies a lovely isle ;
Its hills, its vales, its woodland trees,
Are brightened by his smile.
They tell of rivers broad and clear,
That sweep in kingly pride ;
But lovelier far, the streamlet dear,
My father's home beside.
And waving fields of grain, they say,
Make glad this fertile soil ;
And beauteous harvests, that repay
The honest poor man's toil :
But though the fields, so rich, I ween,
With golden seed were sown ;
Far dearer is the meadow green,
My father calls his own.
For there, on Sabbath-morn, we loved
! To linger on the way,
I Where round, the snowy hawthorn bloom
I Made summer sweet and gay.
In vain, within the chapel walls
I Are shrines and altars rare 5
112 LINE8 WRITTEN FOR MART M .
In vain, the softened sunlight falls
O'er saint and martyr there :
For when in solemn tones they sing,
The tears unhidden start :
They only speak of home, and bring
" The sorrow to my heart."
I think I see, beneath the hill,
The chapel old and dim ;
And voices, well-remembered still,
Are blending with the hymn.
In dreams your forms around me steal,
Sisters, and brothers dear;
Your warm embrace again I feel,
Your kindly words I hear.
God grant, in love and peace, once more
We side by side may stand.
Father and mother dear, farewell !
Farewell my own green land !
WRITTEN AT THE REQUEST OP A 8I8TER, WHO
DESIRED SOME VERSES TO PUT IN THE SHELLS
OP ACORN8, POR THE ANTI-SLAVERY PAIR.
Cradled upon a towering oak-tree high,
Peerless I grew,
From thence my heart its stain of crimson dye
And life-blood drew.
Dews of the morn clung to me, till daybreak
Kissed them away,
And summer breezes fanned my glowing cheek
All the long day.
There, while the green earth lay beneath my home,
And heaven was clear,
The hum of bees and song of birds would come \
From far and near.
But ah ! the sunshine waned, the wind blew chill,
And, one by one,
My race dropped from me, through the boughs, until
I was alone.
They withered in the leaves ; — a fate more blest
Is mine to tell :
116 ACORN 8ONO8.
A bright eye saw me, and a fair hand pressed
Me as I fell.
I heard a voice, low, musical ; it said,
" I'll thee entwine
In Freedom's wreath ; thia offering shall be laid
Upon her shrine."
Unkind it was to bear me
From my lovely forest home :
As I dwelt, I would have died there,
Nor ever wished to roam :
In the sunshine bright I lived there,
Nor ever knew a grief;
In the sunshine fain I'd slept there,
With the sere and yellow leaf.
And springing from my bosom,
Perchance some lordly tree
Had given to the heavens
Its branches broad and free.
But wherefore thus bewailing ?
A nobler doom is mine :
Though heart and strength are failing,
They are laid on Freedom's shrine.
ACORN SONGS. 117
Kerry, merry the life we led,
Up in the boughs, as they waved in their glee ;
Never a care
Troubled us there,
Up in the top of the old oak-tree.
How he tossed his arms in the clear blue sky !
How he whispered, " My children, be glad and free !
And the birds will sing,
As ye lightly cling,
And dance in your joy round the old oak-tree.
" For at morn, and at eve, and beneath the stars,
A feir maiden cometh and singeth to me :
1 Now guard them well,
And their fate I'll tell,
When ripened they fall from the old oak-tree.
" ' When the autumn sun grows cold and dim,
And the autumn breezes have rifled thee,
Thy children gay
Will we bear away
To a happier home than the old oak-tree.' "
118 ACORN SONGS.
Despise me not, though small I be
In nature's wide domain ;
The genial spring has nurtured me,
And summer's sun and rain.
A skilful hand my saucer wrought,
My glossy cup supplied,
And gave the wondrous germ, from whence
Springs forth the forest's pride.
And ah ! my words, although they boast
No wondrous skill nor art,
Perchance may not be wholly lost
Upon a truthful heart.
A heart that aye will willing grant
The only boon I crave,
To circle in its loving thoughts
The freeman and the slave.
ACOBN SONGS. 119
Oh, listen, listen, little child !
I'll sing a song for you :
My home was in a forest wild,
Beneath a sky so blue.
And all around that lovely place
A fountain clear did flow :
Oh, how I loved to see my face
Eeflected clear below !
But, ah ! there came a storm one day :
I clung with right good will ;
'Twas all in vain, — my stem gave way,
I dropped into the rill.
O'er pebbles white, and shining sand,
I whirled upon the wave,
Till spent — I saw a tiny hand
Outstretched, my life to save.
Alas ! that little treacherous hand,
It only left to me
The memory of my childhood, and
The song I sing to thee.
120 ACORN BONOS.
Sweet was the scene : for orange groves
Shed round their rich perfume ;
And far beneath my home was spread
The rich magnolia's bloom.
Sad was the scene, for deadly blight
Had marred that land so fair;
Where sounds of clanking chains were heard,
And tones of wild despair.
Here, 'neath the oak whereon I grew,
At nightfall came a slave ;
Yet on his brow the wanderer bore
The stamp that marks the brave.
He gazed around ; afar or near
No human step was nigh ;
" Now, thanks," he said, " to Him who set
The Polar star on high.
" When the poor slave, in sleep, at last,
Forgot the whip and thong,
Led by its ever blessed beams,
I've flying, sped along.
ACORN SONGS. 121
" Through tangled wood, o'er slippery marsh,
I've steadfast held my way ;
And in the serpent's den, have made
My dark abode by day.
" Far, far behind me, lies my home :
A home of shame and sin ;
And far before, the path that leads
To all my soul would win.
<( Shine on, thou lovely beacon star,
Bright beaming o'er the wave ;
And while I sleep, may heaven still keep
The fugitive and slave t
" And then away, through fearful paths,
Again I'll follow on ;
And, welcome danger ! welcome death !
If so the goal be won."
122 ACORN SONGS.
Ah ! well I remember
Your face and your form :
'Twas a day in November,
Bright, sunny, and warm ;
A glow on the earth,
And a mist o'er the sky,
And a light — oh, how sweet !
In your down-glancing eye.
In the brown woodland shadow
Why lingered you long ?
Why smiled on the singer,
Why blushed at the song ?
I must own that I listened,
Beneath the old tree :
Nay, fear not ; — the wooing
Secure is with me.
But when loitering, with one
We'll not mention, my dear,
Just please to remember #
That acorns may hear.
TO THE PAIEY I. V.
ON RECEIVING SOME FLOWERS.
The wood and the meadow
Are chilly and bare;
Nor sign, nor a shadow
Of flower is there.
Not a snowdrop is peeping
Above the cold ground,
And the cowslip is sleeping,
So cosily bound.
Yet, ere winter is over,
There stands by my side
A bouquet) that a lover
Might cull for his bride.
Camellias, the rarest,
Coral red, rosy white ;
Oh ! which shall be fairest,
* Where all are so bright ?
Here are crimson azaleas,
Dark flecker and streak,
And some, tinted pale, as
The beautiful cheek.
124 TO THE FAIRY I. V.
And fine, dainty blossom
So tenderly blue,
'Twould scarce give its gossam-
Er leaf to the dew.
And gems of deep scarlet,
In bright contrast, met
With honey-sweet luscious,
And rare mignonette.
Pale clusters, as downy
As snow in its fall,
And heliotrope, blending
The fragrance of all.
How could I forget it?
The violet blue *
Has sprung, at her bidding,
To gladden me too.
I marvel what fairy,
From arbor and vine,
Has stolen these airy
Bright flowers of mine ?
In an Old-maiden's bower
She left them for me,
And none but the Blue-bell
The fairy might see ;
And she chose for her bearer,
With delicate art,
TO THE FAIRY I. V. 125
The Old-man that is dearer
Than all to my heart ;
And I say, without boasting
The more that was seen,
A slight silvery frosting,
That mellowed the green.
I've no carrier-pigeon
To take this to-day ;
Our Bell is too little, /
Our Wren is away.
Eun, Mary — gold brightest
Thy guerdon shall be,
And tell the kind I. V.
This leaf is from me.
Nay, Eose-Mary sweetest,
She fancieth you :
Though your step be the fleetest,
You never shall Eue.
And tell her, my Sage thoughts
I never could sing;
That this Leaf is as light
As the Dandelion wing.
May the red Morning-glory
Shed round her its ray,
And Thyme, old and hoary,
Ne'er darken her way.
126 TO THE FAIRT I. V.
Bat her path be on Hoses,
With never a Thorn,
And Forget-me-not blend
With the bloom of her morn.
Evergreen, in her wreath,
With Spring-beauties shall meet ;
And gay Lady's-slipper
Light down at her feet.
Young plants, bright and blooming,
Bend over her bed,
And shield her Old-age,
When her Spring-thyme has fled.
At her bidding, may Innocence
Spring from the ground,
And her cherished and loved ones
With I. V. be crowned.
When the Day's-eye (daisy) grows dim,
And the Night-shades enclose,
May the Lily-bells sing her
To sleep with the Eose.
Ah ! then may the past bring
Heart's-ease to her breast,
Enfold her to rest !
From the sleep of night awaking,
At the coming of the day,
When the first faint tinge is breaking
O'er the western woodlands gray ;
When the white mist from the fountain
Traileth heavily along;
Ere the vapors from the mountain
Soar away to meet the sun ;
Is it but the cock a-crowing,
Or cattle in the fields a-lowing,
Or river through the reeds a-flowing ?
Listen ! all around is speaking,
Everywhere the silence breaking,
For thine ear.
Far the hill and valleys folding,
Faintly blue the dew-sheen see,
Into rounded beauty moulding
Grassy knoll and bowering tree.
Hark ! the awakened wind is stirring
Underneath the listless leaves,
And the wing of swallow, whirring
Here and there, beneath the eaves;
Is it but the tasselled corn
Waving in the breeze of morn ?
Or song of rivulet upborne ?
Listen ! all around is speaking,
Morning through the forest breaking,
Blue-wreathed smoke from house-top soaring,
Curling ruddy in the air;
Bird, upon the mossed roof, pouring,
Wildly sweet, its matin there;
Or, the lattice shadow, dancing
Far across the oaken floor;
Or, the merry sunbeams, glancing
Brightly through the open door;
Or, the fickle winds, that wind
To and fro, where intertwine
Mossy bough and fruitful vine :
Listen ! all around is speaking,
Sunlight o'er the earth is breaking,
Far and near.
Clear, the golden-'broidered shadows
Stream from every leafy tree ;
How they make the hills and meadows
Like a fairy-land for thee !
Team upon the highway ringing,
Eeddening in the morning beam ;
Song of lithesome mower, singing
In the fragrant clover green ;
Or, the sound of tinkling bell,
THE BEQQAR MAN. 129
Wafted far from shady dell ;
Or silver horn ; or sounding shell :
Listen ! all around is speaking,
For the heart and ear awaking
THE BEGGAR MAN.
Come, Mary, look from the window with me,
This clear, cold, winter morn :
A poor old beggar is limping along ;
His clothes are faded and worn.
He has sat him down on the cold stone step,
On the other side of the street ;
His staff and wallet are by his side,
And a hungry dog at his feet.
Yes, it must be so : his sisters dear,
And brothers are lying low ;
And his wife and babies are long asleep, —
All under the winter snow.
He has bared his head to the bleak north wind,
It plays with his silvery hair ;
He lifts his face in the light of the sun,
And love and peace are there.
180 THE BEGGAR MAN.
The children have made them a slide so glib,
They are full of frolic and play ;
But his heart is sad, for well he knows
He was once as merry as they.
And the little boy that was standing by,
Longing, yet fearful to go,
He has taken him gently by the hand,
And glides him over the snow.
And he looks in the child's bright, tender face,
With a kindly glance in his eyes ;
In truth, no beggar man is he,
But a wandering king in disguise !
"Oh, mother, kings are proud and fair,
^ And their crowns are of costly gold,
And their robes, with rubies and ermine rare,
\ Are lovely to behold.
" And beautiful pages await their will,
And listen on bended knee ;
And they have mountains, and rivers wide j
And their ships are on many a sea.
" And they sleep on downy pillows, made
From the breast of the snow-white swan ;
And their walls are of glistening marble white,
All 'broidered with velvet and lawn."
'Tis true, he has no rubies red,
Nor coffers of shining ore ;
THE BEGGAR MAN. 131
And he huggeth himself, on the bitter night,
As he turns on the stony floor.
No page has he but the dog at his feet,
And few will list to his tale ;
Nor marble walls, nor 'broidered halls,
To abide from the winter gale.
He wanders the lanes and alleys along :
He soon will wander no more !
But seek the land where his kingdom lies,
On a far, immortal shore.
Some night he will lay him down to rest,
"Weary, and pale, and cold, —
And arise, and put on a robe of white,
And wear a crown of gold.
THE CHKISTMAS HYMN.
On old Judea's hills and plains, and o'er its streams
The shepherds saw at dawn arise a bright and lovely
In awe and love, they kneeling, bowed ; for on that
To them the Prince of Peace was sent — a child divine
And many a race has come and gone since dawned
that peaceful day,
And kings have vanished from the earth, and nations
passed away ;
Yet now the bells are ringing loud, a solemn, joyful
For Christmas day is dawning bright on all the world
And not alone for us is shed its blessed beams of love,
The rising and the setting sun within its pathway
It shines on the eternal snows, beneath the Polar star,
And with the radiant cross it lights the southern
deep afar j
THE CHRI8TMA8 HYMN. 133
The lonely watcher on the seas sings forth his Christ-
The embers of the hunter's fire beneath its rays grow
The reindeer hears the distant bells, and spurns the
For Christmas day is dawning bright on all the world
The dayspring in the east shall dawn, the golden
The Moslem minaret shall be in dust and silence laid ;
And from the fallen mosque arise shrines beautiful
and fair :
A symbol purer, more divine, shall shed its healing
Where Bussia's rivers, dark and deep, in icy fetters lie,
A glory's on the mountain tops, a brightness in the sky,
The bells are ringing loud and clear, a solemn, joyful
For Christmas day is dawning bright on all the world
Where cradled are Missouri's springs in many a rocky
The white man has its temple reared, above the red
man's grave ;
On the lonely wilds of the western lands nor bird
nor bloom is seen,
But the rude church of the wilderness is wreathed in
living green ;
134 THE CHRISTMAS HYMN.
The emerald lakes in stillness lay long in the moun-
tains hoar :
The spell has passed, — the Christmas song has
sounded by the shore ;
The dark man of the South shall rise, his fetters fall
For Christmas day is dawning bright on all the world
Oh, happy morn ! when heart to heart is firmer
bound in love ;
Oh, happy morn ! when hand in hand the past and
present move ;
When face to face, in gladness meet, the dear ones
And voice with voice is mingling sweet, to sing the
For Christmas morn is but the dawn, the herald of
That circles in its boundless love, no winter, no decay;
The desert as the rose shall bloom — the waste be
hallowed ground :
For Christmas day is dawning bright on all the world
The fast-falling snow, of a bleak winter day,
Swept in as I opened the door ;
When I saw an old man slowly wending his way
Through the drifts that knee deep on the frozen path
His axe on his shoulder he bore :
To the ring of his wedges he trudged, singing, " Ho \
Wood! Split wood!"
To see his sad visage so wasted, I know
Would have melted a bosom of stone ;
And his dim, sunken eyes, with the wind and the
Well-nigh blind, — and the traces of many a woe
On his features so pallid and wan :
Oh, why in this pitiful plight ! singing, " Ho !
Wood! Split wood!"
" Now turn thee," I said, " from the snow and the
I have splitting and piling for thee.
Come back ! thou shalt warm by my fire thy feet,
And of dainty white bread I will give thee to eat :
Oh, sad that such old man should be
136 THE WOOD-SPLITTER.
All day through the wild driving storm singing, ( Ho !
Wood! Split wood!'"
** Oh lady," he said, as the threshold he crossed,
" My thanks and my blessing on thee !
And I'll warm by thy fire my hands and my feet,
Though thy dainty white bread I may sparingly eat :
A morsel suffices for me ;
For my strength is all gone, though I trudge, singing,
Wood! Split wood!"
" Now tell me, I pray thee, thy name and thy home,
• And why art thou out in the storm.
Is there no one to care for thee now thou art old ?
Hast thou no place to house thee when bitter the
Nor clothing to keep thyself warm ?
That through alleys and streets thou must go, sing-
ing, ' Ho !
Wood! Split wood!'"
fc ' My name is Old Eichard; I'm poor enough now,
Though once I had something to spare ;
I had kindred and friends, but they're long dead and
And my children I've laid underneath the grave-
There are none for Old Eichard to care ;
And sometimes a trifle I earn, singing, Ho !
Wood ! Split wood !
THE WOOD-SPLITTER. 137
" Only One far above us, who will not despise
Old Bichard because he is poor :
He knows all my wanderings, He hears all my sight;
My prayers and my sorrows before Him arise ;
His goodness will, ever endure.
But a little while, then I'll be done singing, Ho !
Wood! Split wood!"
Then Fanny, who sat on the footstool by me,
"Went up and stood close by his side,
And fearlessly laid her bright head on his knee,
And looked up in his face, as she said, " I love thee !"
" Bless thy heart, sweetest child !" he replied,
" Wilt thou love poor Old Bichard, who goes singing,
Wood! Split wood!"
Now the wind down the flue sang a quieter lay ;
Through the window shone bright the blue sky;
When he shouldered his axe, and said, " Lady, good
For the sun shines again; — when I'm passing this
I will knock at thy gate as I hie ;
But now I must go with my axe, singing, Ho !
Wood! Split wood!"
And a bright Monday morn, and a cold winter day,
Always brought the old man to our door :
Then he came not : we missed him for many a week :
He was dead; — and Old Bichard, so gentle and meek,
Was happy, — lie sorrowed no more !
138 THE WOOD-SPLITTER.
Though here a poor wanderer he trudged, singing,
Wood! Split wood!"
Now remember, dear child, when through alley or
You hear a poor wood-splitter's song,
They who shelter the houseless from snow and from
May an angel, perchance, as a guest entertain,
Though unheeded he wanders along,
Homeless and friendless, all day singing, " Ho !
Wood! Split wood!"
There's not a cloud in all the sky,
This bright September morn ;
The air is cool, the ground is dry :
"Who is it at the gate I spy ?
They've come to cut the corn ;
And up the lane strides Eichard Eue ;
His stalwart men are full in view ;
With weapons keenly edged anew,
They front the gallant corn,
The gay and gallant corn.
Come on, — 'tis ready for the fray,
Come, Eichard, wind thy horn !
See how it proudly stands at bay,
And stretches east and west away,
In ranks, the plumed corn !
And downward slopes to meet the rill,
And climbs the distant upland hill,
And borders the horizon still, —
All purple with the corn,
The soft and sunny corn.
Come, Chance, my old companion, we
Will stroll the footpath worn,
140 THE CORN-CUTTING.
And sitting 'neath the wild plum-tree,
My feet thy resting-place shall be,
Where 'fore us -waves the corn ;
I'll stroke thy silken ears so long,
While choral winds, that sweep along,
Will, fitful chiming, join the song
We sing amid the corn,
The ever-rustling corn.
The brier-rose and laurel fine,
Are of their beauty shorn ;
Yet still the bee hums o'er the vine,
That lowly loves to creep and twine,
And blossom in the corn ;
Or seeks the yarrow's sweet perfume,
Where golden-rod, with graceful bloom,
Nods lightly to the tasselled plume
That crowns the lithesome corn,
The tall and lithesome corn.
Now Eichard firmly stands his ground,
With brawny arms upborne, —
He spreads them wide, he clasps them round,
They meet — in his embrace are bound
The stalks of bending corn ;
In vain they seek to ward his power :
Above him springs a rustic bower,
And leaf and plume together shower :
They've bound the restive corn,
The bent and broken corn.
THE CORN-CUTTING. 141
Come on, come on, ye merry men !
With cutters deftly borne,
That so your strokes your skill may tell :
Bring in, bring in, and stow it well,
The first full shock of corn ;
"With band of straw now bind it tight,
That so nor rain nor mildew blight,
Nor storm destroy the harvest bright,
The golden ears of corn,
The bounteous yield of corn.
Three times beyond the eastern wood
"Will rise the rosy morn ;
Three times behind the western hill
Will fade the golden twilight still,
Ere falls the field of corn ;
And autumn winds will wail, and fling
In showers the leaves, and wildly sing,
Ere clear October skies will bring
The husking of the corn,
The sweet and yellow corn.
FAKEWELL TO THE VALLEY.
Written September, 1848, immediately after returning from a last
viiit to the country.
In the sunlight of morning,
I've seen from the grove,
Far spreading before me,
The vale that I love :
The blue hills ascending,
Their soft outlines blending
With skies that were bending
In beauty above.
Once more I've beheld them, —
The woods, misty green ;
The homes on the hillsides,
So happy, IVe seen :
The leafy trees swaying,
The herds idly straying,
The bright waters playing
In beauty between.
In the sweet hush of twilight,
I've sat on the ground,
And seen the white cottage
Embowered around ;
FAREWELL TO THE VALLEY. 143
The willow inclining,
The dark elm soft twining,
The golden light shining
In beauty beyond.
I've beheld from the hilltop
The star-lighted sky,
While faint tones were floating
And murmuring by :
How sweetly ascended
That song never ended,
While the crescent moon bended
In beauty on high.
Farewell, lovely valley,
Forever to thee !
Far hills, blue and misty,
Farewell unto ye !
Yet still your sweet seeming
Will come when I'm dreaming,
In sleep, brightly beaming,
Your beauty I'll see.
THE CHARMED SEA.
Girt by mountains wild and hoary,
On a distant, Norland shore,
So I read in olden story,
Sleeps a sea forevermore.
Fastness strong, and rocky turret,
Jealous guard its calm repose ;
Far the tempest gathers o'er it,
Skyward far, the sunshine glows.
Living thing descendeth never
Down that fearful, giddy steep ;
There, in well-like darkness, ever
Hide its fountains, still and deep.
Never wind from piny Norland
Crisps the silent waters there ;
Never bird, from heathy moorland
Winging, cleaves the brooding air.
Sound of oar, or boatman's singing,
There may never echoed be ;
Sorrow's plaint, or mirth's wild ringing,
Vexeth not that sunless sea.
THE CHARMED SEA. 14j5
And the olden story telleth
How the eye that looketh down
Long and earnestly, dispelleth
By its power the doleful gloom.
Then do shapes of lovely seeming
Sense and soul in beauty steep ;
While the stars at noon are gleaming,
Mirrored in the waveless deep.
And the list'ner, earnest bending,
Heareth, so the tale doth say, —
Through its winding caverns blending,
Songs Eolian glide away.
Shadows of all sounds, renewing
. Endless longing, murmur by ;
May-morn joyance, summer's wooing,
Softer than the wind-harp's sigh.
Fountain springeth, wild bird singe th.
Storm-winds, fitful, sweep along;
Melodies of earth and ocean
Mingle in the phantom song.
Oh, what visions float before him
Who hath climbed the mountain high !
Where the stars and cloud-land o'er him,
Shadowed in the stillness lie.
Earth her bright apparel weareth,
Storm and sunshine come and go
146 THE CHARMED SEA.
Vainly, while the song he heareth
Faintly, sweetly, far below.
Yet, so saith the olden story :
Wanderer 'neath the Norland skies,
Seek thou not the passes hoary,
Where the beetling cliffs arise.
He who listens, fondly dreaming,
Home and love forgetteth all,
When the dew-light, golden gleaming,
Glimmers down the mountain wall.
Daily, nightly, wandering lonely,
As a sleeper, singeth he
Of the echoing songs, that only
Flow, where sleeps the charmed sea.
Then, so ends the olden story :
Wanderer 'neath the Norland skies,
Leave the enchanted region hoary,
Where the girdling mountains rise.
Herd thy fold, and tend thy vineyard,
Lowly, where the valleys lie ;
Planting, sowing, 'neath the glowing
Warmth of summer's ripening sky.
Seek thy fatherland, where only
Bloom enduring joys for thee, —
Lovelier than his song, who lonely
Singeth by the phantom sea.
Suggested by the benevolent visits of M. T. and L. G. to
Aspiring at " Association" aims, .
Bounteous bestowers ! bothering by-lanes :
Cats, curs, cold-cuts, can Currant Court combine ;
Down damp depots degraded darkies dine ;
Each empty epicure exposed entire,
Forlorn, foul, friendless, faint for food, for fire ;
Grood grooms ; great, greasy gaberlunzies, grown ;
Here, huffish, heedless housemaids, huddle home ;
Imps inky, in ingenuous innocence
Keep kids, kine, kennels, kindly knavishness !
Lunch, liquor-loving, liking labor less,
Meek mothers, minus mantles, minus mess ;
Need noble noses nigher nod? No ! no !
Opining opened oysters old, — oh ! oh !
Perambulating pair ! peculiar pride !
Quaint, quiet, Quaker-like, " quite qualified :"
Keproving rovers ragged, rovers rude,
Seeking sad sorrows, soothing solitude ;
Threading through tubs, through teapots tumbling
Upsetting urchins, urged up-stairs unco.
148 LINES. ETC.
Vain vauuters. vicious varlets. virtue view !
What wonders wisdom works, when women woo !
Xtolling xcellence, xult, xcite.
Ye yellow youngsters, yearlings yesternight !
Zetetic zealots ! Zanies zealously
Answer, " Angelic ! An anomaly !"
APR 14 1954